Three-time champion Andy Murray eased past Fernando Verdasco today 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the Queen’s quarterfinals.
“It wasn’t perfect, but I felt I dug myself out of a few difficult situations when I was behind on my serve,” said Murray. “Especially in the second set, [I] played some good points there, [served] a few aces.
“I will definitely need to make sure I start a bit sharper than I have in the last couple of matches, because I played a couple of sloppy service games early on. When you start playing against the big servers, you can’t really afford that.”
Murray has won 17 of his last 18 matches since the start of the clay season. He’ll face Gilles Muller in the quarterfinals after the lefty bounced out struggling defending champion Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 7-6(5).
This season the 24-year-old Dimitrov has made just two semifinals, and now has to defend semifinal points at Wimbledon.
“I don’t think I’m playing bad tennis at the moment,” said Dimitrov who has lost three of his last four matches. “I just am doing a lot of good things on the court, which really don’t discourage me to play. I’m just going to stay positive. Wimbledon is coming up. I’m going to have good time to get ready.”
Also, John Isner and Feliciano Lopez combined for an ATP 3-set record 65 aces as the American won a no-break match unsurprisingly 7-6(5), 6-7)9), 7-6(4). Isner hit a 3-set personal best 36 aces in the victory. Next for the American is Viktor Troicki who knocked out US Open champion Marin Cilic.
In Halle, Kei Nishikori and Gael Monfils advanced to the quarterfinals while Andreas Seppi downed 5th seed Tommy Robredo.
The Friday quarters feature Tomas Berdych v Ivo Karlovic, Nishikori against the giant Jerzy Janowicz, Seppi v Monfils and Roger Federer returns against German Florian Mayer.
At the WTA event in Birmingham, Simona Halep cruised into the last eight crushing Klara Koukalova 6-1, 6-3.
“I expected a tough match because she plays very hard on grass with her type of game,” Halep said. “It’s difficult to play her on this surface but I didn’t really want to think about that – I just came out here and played my game, played my style, stayed aggressive and especially served very well in the match.
“It was a good match for me today. It was my second match on grass this year so I’m feeling better on it, and I feel no pressure – I’m just enjoying the tennis here, and enjoying playing on this nice court.”
Halep will now face Kristina Mladenovic tomorrow. Carla Saurez Navarro, Sabine Lisicki and Daniela Hantuchova also were winners.
FRIDAY HALLE SCHEDULE
STADION start 12:00 noon
 T. Berdych (CZE) vs  I. Karlovic (CRO)
J. Janowicz (POL) vs  K. Nishikori (JPN)
 R. Federer (SUI) vs [PR] F. Mayer (GER)
Not Before 17:30
A. Seppi (ITA) vs  G. Monfils (FRA)
FRIDAY QUEEN’S SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT start 12:30 pm
G. Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs K. Anderson (RSA)
 G. Simon (FRA) vs  M. Raonic (CAN)
 A. Murray (GBR) vs G. Muller (LUX)
V. Troicki (SRB) vs J. Isner (USA)
 A. Peya (AUT) / B. Soares (BRA) vs  P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA)
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