By Jaclyn Stacey
(January 23, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Andy Murray raced into the semifinals of the Australian Open, crushing hard hitting Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in one hour and 51 minutes.
The win was a comprehensive victory for Murray as he heads into his fourth consecutive Australian Open semifinal. It wasn’t flawless however as Murray lead easily in each set but allowed the Frenchman to break him once in both the first and third set.
The Olympic Gold Medallist didn’t allow Chardy to play the game he’d been using to win through to the quarterfinal stage of the tournament, shutting down his attempts to reel Murray into the net and slam a big forehand past him.
Murray came into the contest the freshest player in the quarterfinal lineup having spent only seven hours and five minutes on court during his first four matches whereas Chardy had spent 11 hours and 40 minutes in total on court. Murray continued to field questions he won’t be ready for a big challenge against someone like Federer in the semifinals or Djokovic in the final having played such little tennis against lower ranked opponents in the tournament so far.
“I haven’t lost a set here yet. So, you know, maybe I’m expecting to play too well or whatever. But I’ve done a good job so far in this tournament.”
“But, you know, who knows. I played a lot of tennis in December. I had some good matches in Brisbane. So, I mean, I can’t be disappointed about being in the semis of a slam without dropping a set. That would be silly.”
There has been some criticism of the scheduling at the Open this year with world No. 3 Murray not playing one night match during the fortnight leading into the semifinals. His likely opponent Federer has played all bar one of his matches under the lights on Rod Laver Arena. Murray will practice under the lights on Hisense arena on Wednesday and Thursday night to adjust to the night match setting.
“It’s purely for the lights, yeah. I mean, I played in Brisbane a couple of matches in the evening, but it’s slightly different there, as well, because there’s a roof too. That’s why I’ll go out there. I’ll hit under the lights tonight and do the same tomorrow.”
“If I was the tournament director or the referee or whoever decides the schedule, I also would have put Federer against Tsonga on as the night match tonight because it’s the best match of the day.”
Murray has the chance to become the only first-time Grand Slam winner to immediately claim a second major at the next opportunity after he won his first Grand Slam at the US Open in September last year.
Murray will play the winner of the match between Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semifinals on Friday night. Murray holds a head-to-head lead over Federer 10-9 and Tsonga 7-1 so will take some confidence into the match.
Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.