ANDY Murray breezed into the quarter-finals of the Sony Open in Miami last night after cruising past 16th seed Andreas Seppi in Miami.
Murray has yet to drop a set in this tournament and this did not seem likely to change as he was rarely tested by his Italian opponent, whose sole break point opportunity came in the final game.
The Scot did not look back from breaking Seppi in the very first game and duly cruised to a 6-2, 6-4 victory to set up a last-eight encounter with either French sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Croatia’s Marin Cilic, who is seeded ninth.
A limp forehand into the net immediately gave Murray two break points in the opening game and another unforced error from Seppi gave the world No 3 the initiative.
Seppi, who reached a career-high 18th in the world in January this year, won just four points on Murray’s serve in the first set and was broken again in the seventh game as the US Open champion put one foot into the next round.
The second seed wasted three break point opportunities at the start of the second set before Seppi steadily settled.
The 29-year-old had a slight hope of getting back into the match when Murray found himself 4-3 and 0-30 down on his serve before storming back to level.
In the very next game, Murray earned his fourth break point opportunity of the set and he would not be denied this time as Seppi crashed a forehand into the net.
The Briton had a bit of a wobble serving out the match and, although Seppi had an opportunity to break straight back, Murray sealed victory with his first match point.
French eighth seed Richard Gasquet joined Murray in the last eight after edging out tenth seed Nicolas Almagro.
Clay court specialist Almagro took the first set on a tiebreak after both players had their serves broken twice, but Gasquet proved he had the heart for the battle and took their clash to a decider.
The 26-year-old held his nerve in another tiebreak to seal a 6-7(3/7), 7-5, 7-6 (7/3) victory.
World No 5 David Ferrer broke serve on four occasions as he breezed past 13th seed Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-4, 6-2 in 81 minutes. The Spaniard will be confident of a semi-final berth when he next faces the unseeded Austrian Jurgen Melzer, who hit back against Albert Ramos to triumph 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.
In the women’s draw, Serena Williams matched Steffi Graf’s record for the number of match wins in this tournament, a 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) win over Australian Open finalist Li Na seeing the American claim her 59th victory in the Miami Masters.
“I’m excited,” said the five-time champion in her on-court interview. “It’s just great.
“Every day I play here is a surprise for me because I enjoy it so much. I enjoy the great crowd and I’m just happy to still be here.”
The top-ranked Williams overcame six double-faults and rallied in the second set from a 5-2 deficit. She hit six winners in the tiebreaker, including a forehand passing shot cross-court on the final point.
Williams, who won her most recent Key Biscayne title in 2008, improved to 59-7 in the tournament. Graf, another five-time champion, went 59-6.