Tennis: Andy Murray cruises into Australian Open semi-final
ANDY Murray brushed aside the challenge of Kei Nishikori today to ease into his third successive Australian Open semi-final.
The world number four was rarely troubled by the Japanese, winning 6-3 6-3 6-1 in two hours and 12 minutes, as he maintained his smooth progress through the draw in Melbourne.
Murray will have better days on serve - he got just 44% of first serves into play - but, that aside, there was little room for improvement as he moved into a last-four clash with either Novak Djokovic or David Ferrer.
"It was a good match, a lot of fun points, most of them he was winning so I was trying to keep them as short as possible," the Scot said.
"But I need to serve better. I didn't serve particularly well but the returning was good so that was a positive.
"My game has been getting better each match and I am moving better and I am going to be fresh going into the weekend."
Nishikori, the first player from Japan to reach the last eight here in 80 years, showed glimpses of his potential but, like Murray's previous opponent Mikhail Kukushkin, seemed fatigued by his efforts in previous rounds.
The 22-year-old from Shimane had spent four hours more on court than Murray in reaching this stage and it showed.
Although he was able to hold his own in the majority of the baseline rallies, he lacked the weight of shot to really trouble the British number one.