Both Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych came safely through their quarter-finals as expected in Miami, setting up a repeat of their heated last-four tussle at the Australian Open earlier in the year. Murray started poorly against Austria's Dominic Thiem before finding his form to win 3-6 6-4 6-1, whereas Berdych looked far more commanding with a straight sets success over Argentina's Juan Monaco. Murray triumphed in Melbourne in the Slam event, but not before one or two disparaging words had been exchanged between the two players and their rival camps.
After the tough battle against Kevin Anderson in the previous round, Murray might have been forgiven for expecting a far more comfortable contest against the world number 36 player, six years his junior, which might have explained his slow start to the match as he lost the opening set. With no form guide to go on, the pair having not played each other previously, it was a fresh challenge for both to determine if they could pick their opponent's shots correctly and respond appropriately in kind.
The second set started more promisingly for the Scot as he seemed to be reading his opponent's game better and forged a 3-0 lead early on after breaking Thiem's serve, but his concerns returned as the Austrian regained parity at 4-4. With youth and pressure come unforced errors though, and Britain's number one capitalised to close out the set. The failure to take the second set by the younger player proved decisive, as Murray swept through the decider for the loss of just a single game.
Murray now looks forward to renewing acquaintances with the Czech player Berdych, who defeated Monaco 6-3 6-4 in a routine fashion. The British player will no doubt hope that the final result is as it was in the Australian Open, where he came through in four sets, but perhaps not with the same bad feeling between the players and their supporters during the match. Even Murray's wife-to-be Kim Sears was seen to get involved in the war of words at the time, although there has been an attempt by her fiancée to explain it as just being a 'heat of the battle' outburst subsequently.
As ever there is very little to choose between the two players, as their head to head stands at 6-5 to Berdych, who may have the greater incentive to win through after that Grand Slam reversal last time they met. Murray will hope that his knowledge of the courts and surroundings, given his training base in Miami, will give him the edge. #Tennis