Andy Murray, apparently, is unstoppable.
Fresh off his second straight gold medal effort at the Olympics, the Brit on Friday night turned back a stern test from Aussie Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-4 to move into the semifinals at Cincinnati, extending his current win streak to a personal-best 21 wins in a row and claim his 200th career Masters victory.
“When I was behind on my on serve games I served well,” Murray said regarding one of the keys to the match. “That was the difference. I just played the bigger points better tonight.”
Murray will next meet the red-hot Canadian Milos Raonic in a rematch of their Wimbledon final. The No. 4 seed never faced a break point in serving Dominic Thiem off the court 6-3, 6-4.
“Return of serve obviously will be key,” Murray said. “He has one of the biggest serves in the game.”
Raonic for his part was dominant in putting down Thiem in this first-time meeting, never facing a break point.
“I’ve practiced with him many times, so to some extent I have an understanding of his game, like he has of mine,” said Raonic, who dropped 17 aces on the Austrian. “But it’s different come match time, so I did a little bit of studying. I feel like I took that all in and adapted well. I’ve definitely watched plenty of his matches, especially throughout this year, because he’s been playing well. He’s been there in the latter stages of each and every tournament.
I’ve spent a lot of time with [coach] John [McEnroe] talking about various different things he think I need to improve when I come forward, angles to cover, what other guys can and cannot do. I think I’ve made good progress there.”
Raonic is 0-3 career in Masters-level tournament finals and has lost six straight to Murray. He’s playing in his second Cincinnati semifinal, Murray his fifth.
“We played some important matches this year in Australia in the semis and then the Wimbledon final, Queen’s final as well,” Murray said of Raonic who he leads 7-3. “It’s been tight, but just managed to play a little bit better in the important moments, which is – especially playing against a big server – very important. You don’t get loads of chances. Hopefully I will do that again tomorrow.”
In the other quarterfinals, Grigor Dimitrov fought through a tight first-set tiebreak to beat new American No. 1 and fellow unseeded player Steve Johnson 7-6(8), 6-2.
“As soon as I came out to play that second set, I felt a little bit more relaxed and a little bit more confident,” said Dimitrov who avenged a loss to Johnson at Wimbledon. “I was looking more for his serve and waiting in a different spot, so that helped a lot.”
Once touted as “Baby Fed” and a sure Top 10 mainstay, the struggling Dimitrov has now reached his first semifinal at a Masters-level event since Canada in 2014, but he’s never made a final.
Next Dimitrov will face No. 12 seed Marin Cilic, who advanced when his fellow Croat Borna Coric retired due to a knee injury after losing the first set 6-2. It marks Cilic’s first career Masters semifinal after failing previously in his first 70.
“I’ve been a little bit up and down with the form in last 18 months, but when I feel that I’m playing great, I know that I’m going to always have a shot against top guys,” said Cilic. “Here is the first time I made it to the semifinals ever on a Masters 1000 tournament, so it’s obviously big step forward for me.”
Cilic leads Dimitrov 2-1 in their career head-to-head having just whipped the Bulgarian last week in Rio.
SATURDAY CINCINNATI SCHEDULE
CENTER COURT start 1:00 pm
WTA –  K. Pliskova (CZE) vs  G. Muguruza (ESP)
Not Before 2:30 pm
WTA –  S. Halep (ROU) vs  A. Kerber (GER)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP –  A. Murray (GBR) vs  M. Raonic (CAN)
ATP –  M. Cilic (CRO) vs G. Dimitrov (BUL)
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