BRITAIN’S Andy Murray knows a gruelling showdown with world No1 Novak Djokovic awaits in the quarter-final of the US Open after powering through his fourth-round clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga yesterday.
The 27-year-old despatched Tsonga 7-5, 7-5 6-4, at Flushing Meadows to claim his first victory over a top-10 rival since defeating Djokovic to lift the Wimbledon title last July.
Serbia’s Djokovic reached his 22nd consecutive grand slam quarter final by brushing aside Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets, and Murray accepts a renowned gritty performance will be needed tomorrow in order to make the last four.
“If I want to win I will have to go through a bit of pain to get there but it’s worth it,” said Murray. “I will fight as hard as I can and if I play a good match I will have a chance.
“I played well offensively yesterday and kept Jo on the back foot and away from the net. I knew if I could take the second serve early it would make him go for more first serves and towards the end he went for some huge serves and missed them.”
Eighth seed Murray will be boosted by his victory over Tsonga, a player the Scot has now defeated 10 times in 12 meetings, although the Frenchman did buck the trend when the pair met in Toronto last month.
But 2012 US Open champion Murray looked comfortable back at the Arthur Ashe Stadium and away from the Louis Armstrong, where he dropped sets against both Robin Haase and Andrey Kuznetsov.
What did mirror his early round clashes was a third-set dip, with Murray forced to save two break points to avoid trailing 3-0 before battling back to make it 2-2.
The pressure was then heaped on Tsonga to stay in the match at 4-5 as successive double faults paved the way for Murray to take the second of three match points.