Andy Murray’s quest to earn a place at the ATP World Tour Finals remains on track after he marched into the quarter-finals of the China Open.
Fresh from winning the Shenzhen Open five days ago, Murray was on fine form in Beijing yesterday, needing just one hour and 20 minutes to beat Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas 6-2 6-2.
The British men’s No 1 meets US Open champion Marin Cilic today for a place in tomorrow’s semi-finals and the further he progresses here and in the Shanghai Masters next week, the more likely he is to make the season-ending tournament at the O2 Arena in London.
Only the top-eight ranked men’s players qualify for the prestigious tournament and Murray will need to replicate yesterday’s devastating performance against Cuevas in the coming weeks if he wants to secure one of the five remaining places up for grabs.
Murray, who currently trails eighth-placed Tomas Berdych in the Emirates ATP Race To London standings by 105 points, made a flying start to his second-round encounter at the National Tennis Centre, breaking Cuevas in the first and third games and holding serve twice to race into a 4-0 lead.
Cuevas held his next two service games, but so did the Scot to win the first set 6-2 with the minimum of fuss.
The start of the second set mirrored the first when Murray broke twice and held his own serve to surge into a 4-0 lead, but Cuevas then broke back before holding his serve to reduce the deficit to 4-2.
Annoyed at losing two successive games, Murray upped the ante by breaking Ceuvas for the fifth and final time in the next game before holding serve to win the second set 6-2 and wrap up victory in convincing fashion.
Murray’s dominance was highlighted by 16 winners and him winning 22 out of 30 points on his first serve.
Murray is scheduled to face Cilic at 14.30 local time (07.30 BST) and the winner could meet defending champion Novak Djokovic for a place in the final.
Rafael Nadal moved into the quarter-finals with a straight-sets 6-3 6-4 victory over German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk.
Serena Williams dropped her first set of the tournament but nevertheless moved into the quarter-finals with a 6-1 1-6 6-2 win over 13th seed Lucie Safarova.
Venus Williams could not join her sister as she was forced to concede her match against third seed Petra Kvitova due to illness.