Tennis: Old hands get through

Andy Murray readying for a backhand against fellow Briton Kyle Edmund, who nearly took the first set but went down tamely in the second. Murray plays Spaniard David Ferrer in today's semi-finals.
Andy Murray readying for a backhand against fellow Briton Kyle Edmund, who nearly took the first set but went down tamely in the second. Murray plays Spaniard David Ferrer in today's semi-finals.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Murray and Ferrer take out youngsters while Keys will battle Konta for WTA Finals spot

BEIJING • Andy Murray beat Davis Cup team-mate Kyle Edmund and David Ferrer dispatched German youngster Alexander Zverev, as experience won out over youth in tennis' China Open quarter-finals yesterday.

Murray, a the three-time Grand Slam champion, was forced into a tense 20-point tie break in the first set by his 21-year-old compatriot, finally clinching it with a forehand passing shot.

But Edmund - who upset 18th-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round - was unable to hold his serve in the second, conceding the match 7-6 (11-9), 6-2.

Zverev, 19, was looking to cap a breakthrough season with a second title in Beijing, but was unable to capitalise on his first-set lead as he was overpowered by Ferrer 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 7-5. The German upset the Swiss world No. 3 Stan Wawrinka to win his maiden ATP title at St Petersburg last month, having downed No. 9 Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals.

In Beijing, he beat 10th-ranked Austrian Dominic Thiem in the first round, making him the first teenager to defeat three top 10 players in a row since Boris Becker in 1986. Despite the loss, Zverev - who started the year ranked 83- is expected to rise to 21 when the new rankings are released on Monday as he moves towards a place in the top 20 for the first time.

In the other semi-final, Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov plays Canadian third seed Milos Raonic.

Dimitrov overpowered second seed Rafa Nadal 6-2, 6-4 while Raonic beat another Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-4 6-4.

On the women's side, in an Olympic effort, Madison Keys overpowered Petra Kvitova in their first meet since the Czech denied the American a bronze medal in the Rio Olympics.

It took two hours and 40 minutes, three sets and two tie-breaks for Keys to exact revenge over the two-time Wimbledon champion, 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-5).

A double fault by Kvitova turned the first set in favour of Keys, but she pulled back in the second pushing it to a tie-break, which she won.

There was little between the pair in the final set, but Kvitova's 32 unforced errors to Keys' 25 ultimately cost the Czech a semi-final place - and ended her eight-match winning streak.

"She made it really tough today. I'm just really happy that at the end I was able to get my serve back on track and get myself ahead in the tie-breaker," Keys said.

Kvitova ended last year runner-up in the WTA Finals in Singapore but has failed to get past the round of 16 at any of this year's Grand Slams, and her ranking fell to 16 - its lowest since 2011.

Keys, 21, made her top 10 debut this year after winning her second career title in Birmingham in June.

The big hitting youngster, who is often cast as a successor to 22-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, is also chasing her first qualification for the elite WTA Finals, which features the top eight.

With her quarter-final win, she moves into seventh in the Race to Singapore leader board, but Briton Johanna Konta is hot on her heels and the American needs to win the title in Beijing to clinch her spot.

Konta crushed home favourite Zhang Shuai 6-4, 6-0 and will meet Keys in the semi-finals.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ATP CHINA OPEN

S-finals 1 (4.30pm) & 2 (9pm) - Ch201

WTA CHINA OPEN

S-finals 1 (2.30pm) & 2 (7.30pm) - Ch203

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2016, with the headline 'Old hands get through'. Print Edition | Subscribe