Andy Murray is achieving his objective of playing as many matches as possible on grass in preparation for Wimbledon with another win at the Surbiton Trophy which takes him into the semi-finals. Two more wins and he will collect his first title since 2016.
It's not easy out there, it's very windy today. The court is playing quick, it's low bouncing. Like all grass court tournaments towards the end of the week, the court starts to get chewed up a little bit at the back of the court, so it's not that easy to play great tennis. Andy Murray
He beat Brandon Nakashima,6-4 7-6(1), a 20-year-old American who had reached the third round at Roland Garros where he lost out, in three tough sets, to Sasha Zverev.
Not only was Nakashima a higher calibre player than his previous two opponents, he also had to contend with tough, blustery conditions which required Murray to use all his grass court know-how to progress after 97-minutes.
“I thought I competed well,” Murray, who will face Denis Kudla, another American, who beat Australia’s Max Purcell 6-4 7-6(4), in the semi-finals, said.
“It’s not easy out there, it’s very windy today. The court is playing quick, it’s low bouncing. Like all grass court tournaments towards the end of the week, the court starts to get chewed up a little bit at the back of the court, so it’s not that easy to play great tennis.
“I served well in the important moments, I played a really good tie-break again, and didn’t give him too many opportunities.
“I didn’t feel great on the court yesterday. Today was better than yesterday and the first match was probably my best match, but it was also the easiest conditions to play in. The court was pretty new, no wind really at all, where that’s not been the case the past couple of days.”
And looking ahead at his next match with Kudla, added: “He likes playing on the grass, he’s made the fourth round of Wimbledon before, I think he’s won some of these Challengers before over the years, he likes a lower bouncing court, he’s very experienced.”
Kudla, when also asked to comment on Murray, replied: “I’ve played Andy twice but not on grass. It’ll be a serving battle but I’m excited to play him.”
Wild Card Ryan Peniston from Essex lost out narrowly to Finland’s Otto Virtanen 6-7(1) 6-3 7-6(6) in a match that lasted 2 hours and 12 minutes. Virtanen dominated on serve and only faced one break point in the match while serving a total of 18 aces.
”I thought I played pretty well actually throughout the whole match. Otto was just serving really really well so it was tough to get anything on his service games but yeah, I’m pleased with how I competed and yeah just tough to take the loss,” Peniston said after the match
In the semi-final, Virtanen will take on Australia’s Jordan Thompson who beat fellow Aussie Chris O’Connell in straight sets 6-2 6-3.
In the women’s draw 23- year-old Jodie Burrage from Kingston-on-Thames was 6-3 down but 2-1 up in the second set when former World No.20 Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania suffered an injury which forced her to retire from the match.
The Briton will face the second seed Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium who defeated Serbia’s Natalia Stevanovic 6-0 6-3, next.
“It was a battle for sure. The games felt really, really, long.” Burrage said.
“I think I played some good tennis in there, not totally happy with my game, I’ll probably get back on the practice court for a little bit and work on some things for tomorrow but generally I’m playing well and like I said I’m happy to be in the semis.”
The second semi-final will feature former Wimbledon quarterfinalist Coco Vandeweghe of the US who defeated Germany’s Tatjana Maria 6-7(5) 6-3 6-1 against Australia’s Arina Rodionova who progressed due to the retirement of top seed Madison Brengle 6-3 5-7 2-1.
“She’s a tricky opponent, lots of slicing from her on both wings and her serve was nothing to blink at so I just had to manage myself which was just kind of up and down in the first set,” Vandeweghe said.
“But I managed to bring myself together in the second set and keeping the train rolling was exactly what I wanted and I accomplished that so I’m happy for myself.”