Tennis: Murray into quarters, youngsters take charge in Beijing

Britain's Murray celebrates winning 6-2 6-1 over Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia.
Britain's Murray celebrates winning 6-2 6-1 over Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - Andy Murray stormed into the China Open quarter-finals with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Andrey Kuznetsov on Wednesday (Oct 5), as on the outer courts the tournament’s younger players appeared in control.

The 49th-ranked Russian broke Murray’s serve in the first game, battling through four deuces to take the first point of the match.

The world number two dropped another serve in the first set, and one in the second, but otherwise allowed the 25-year-old little room as he closed out the match in 76 minutes.

The women’s top seed Angelique Kerber booked her spot in the round of 16, beating Barbora Strycova in two sets, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).

“I was just trying to be more aggressive, so that was my plan, to just to go for it, and (to make) her run,” Kerber said after the match.

The German two-time Grand Slam champion will meet 22-year-old Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, who downed Savine Lisicki 6-4, 6-4.

Other members of the younger generation also took charge Wednesday.

Ninth-ranked 21-year-old Madison Keys dismissed two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, 31, in two sets, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2.

The American is targeting a spot in the final to qualify for the eight-player WTA Finals in Singapore for the first time, but will have to get through two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals.

Briton Johanna Konta is also still in the running to qualify for the season finale for the first time – and possibly break into the top ten – as she beat Timea Babos 7-5, 6-2.

Twenty-one-year-old British qualifier Kyle Edmund outgunned 18th-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to set up a quarter final meet with Murray.

Meanwhile, German teenager Alexander Zverev beat American Jack Sock, who is five years his senior, 6-4, 6-2. He will face 13th-ranked veteran David Ferrer, 34, in the next round.

Zverev claimed the scalp of world number 10 Dominic Thiem in the first round of the China Open, a week after he beat world number three Stan Wawrinka to claim his maiden career title in St Petersburg.

Twenty-two-year-old Caroline Garcia crushed the home crowd’s hopes as she ousted Peng Shuai, 30, after a tense three set tie break, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4).