ANDY MURRAY praised Yorkshire’s Kyle Edmund after defeating his Davis Cup team-mate 7-6 (11/9) 6-2 in the quarter-finals of the China Open.
Murray edged a tight first set in a tie-break and trailed 2-0 early in the second, but reeled off six games in a row to set up a semi-final clash with Spain’s David Ferrer, who beat Alexander Zverev in three sets.
“I know how good he (Edmund) is and the power that he has on the court,” Murray said. “I knew it was going to be a hard match today, he’d come through qualifying here and had a good win in the last round. He’s playing really well and will be up at the top of the game soon.
“The first set was very tough and I was down an early break in the second. He generates a lot of power on the forehand side, it’s one of the bigger weapons in tennis just now and that will continue to develop over the next few years the more matches he plays. In the biggest tournaments against the best players he’s going to learn how to use that shot more and more.”
Murray had coasted through his second-round contest against Russian Andrey Kuznetsov, dropping just three games in a match lasting 76 minutes.
But he needed almost as long simply to win the first set against Edmund, who looked well worthy of his move into the world’s top 50 for the first time in his career when the rankings are updated on Monday.
Murray won 100 per cent of points behind his first serve in the first set but was unable to convert his only break – and set – point in the 10th game, Edmund producing an excellent forehand winner with his opponent at the net.
Edmund then surged into a 5-2 lead in the tie-break but was unable to find the killer blow before Murray finally won it 11-9 with another powerful first serve.
After saving a break point in the first game of the second set, Edmund was gifted a 2-0 lead thanks to a double fault from Murray, but failed to consolidate the break despite being 40-15 ahead on his serve. And although he had to save three break points in the seventh game, Murray was in no mood to take his foot off the gas and broke Edmund twice more to seal victory.
In the women’s draw, British No 1 Johanna Konta advanced to the semi-finals after fighting back from 4-0 down in the first set to clinch victory over home favourite Zhang Shuai.
Konta, the world No 14, bounced back emphatically from her slow start, winning the next 12 games in a row for a 6-4 6-0 triumph.
Eighth seed Keys earlier beat 14th-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 7-6 (7/5).