Andy Murray racked up his 500th career win by beating Kevin Anderson over three sets to reach the quarter-finals of the Miami Open.
The third-seeded Scot needed a little over two hours to dispatch the South African 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, passing an important personal milestone while making the last eight of a competition which has seen Rafael Nadal make an early exit.
Murray fired down two aces in response to Anderson’s 11, with his first serve malfunctioning as he surrendered the second set before rallying to end the world No 17’s challenge in Florida.
Murray, who will face the Austrian Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals today, said of his landmark win: “Obviously it means a lot. There’s not a whole load of people who’ve managed to get to 500. And to do it in Miami is quite fitting. I’ve done a lot of hard yards on these courts, put in a lot of hard work.”
The Scot usually spends the off-season in Florida working on his fitness.
He added: “There’s a certain number [of victories] I’d like to get to before I finish playing and hopefully my body will allow me to do that.” Despite his second-set wobble, Murray – the current world No 4 – was able to triumph in the decider by converting on four of 11 break opportunities.
He expects a testing encounter against Thiem today after the ousted Adrian Mannarino of France 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-5 earlier yesterday.
“I expect a tough match. He’s had some good wins here,” said Murray who is the ninth active men’s player to win 500 matches. He was given a cake on the court in recognition of the achievement but said he would not eat it until after the tournament was finished. Murray was watched by fiance Kim Sears who he is due to marry in Scotland next week.
Tomas Berdych also advanced to thequarter-finals when Gael Monfils fell and hurt his hip. The No. 8-seeded Berdych was leading 6-3, 3-2 when Monfils retired.
Monfils, seeded 17th, said he bruised his hip but hopes to be able to play in his next scheduled tournament in Houston.
In the women’s draw, Andrea Petkovic became the first semi-finalist at the Miami Open when she beat Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-2. Petkovic, seeded ninth, arrived at Key Biscayne with a modest 7-6 record this year but has yet to lose a set.
Top seed Serena Williams has advanced to the quarter-finals, joining sister Venus Williams in the last eight. Serena beat 24th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-3, while her elder sister Venus, who is the 16th seed, beat former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-3, 7-6 (7/1).
Venus will play Carla Suarez Navarro, the 12th seed, in the last eight after the Spaniard saw off seventh seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 5-7, 6-0, 6-4.
Next up for Serena is a clash with Sabine Lisicki of Germany after her 6-1 6-2 defeat of Italy’s Sara Errani.
Third seed Simona Halep claimed the last quarter-final berth after finally getting the better of Flavia Pennetta. Italian Pennetta had won all of the previous three meetings between the two but Halep recovered from 5-2 down in the second set to claim a 6-3 7-5 triumph.
The Romanian will now face Sloane Stephens after the American reached the fifth round for the first time in her career by dispatching Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic 6-4, 7-6 (7/5).
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