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Imperious Murray ready to step up a gear for Cilic battle

ANDY MURRAY has his sights set on a place in the US Open quarter-finals later today when he continues his search for a maiden Grand Slam title against big-serving Croatian Marin Cilic at Flushing Meadows.<br /><br />British No1 Murray cruised into the last 16 after making light work of his third-round clash with American wild card Taylor Dent in the early hours of yesterday.<br /><br />Second seed Murray used his impressive returning game to full effect in taming Dent&rsquo;s impressive 145mph serve &ndash; the Scot eventually coming through 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 inside 90 minutes at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.<br /><br />Cilic however, is sure to provide an altogether sterner test for world No2 Murray, with the Croatian also storming to a straight-sets victory over Uzbekistan&rsquo;s Denis Istomin 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.<br /><br />And despite boasting an unbeaten record against Cilic with victories in each of their three previous encounters, Murray remains weary of Cilic as he looks to go one better than his final appearance of last year. <br /><br />&ldquo;He&rsquo;s tough, he&rsquo;s top 20, got a big serve,&rdquo; the Scot said of his 20-year-old opponent. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not going to get as many free points on my own serve, because he returns a bit better than Taylor. It&rsquo;s going to be a tough match.&rdquo;<br /><br />But Murray still believes he is perfectly placed for victory ahead of today&rsquo;s match at Flushing Meadows, claiming similarities between Cilic and first-round opponent Ernests Gulbis could give him the upper hand.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s kind of similar to Gulbis, just a lot more solid,&rdquo; Murray added. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll have to make sure I return well against him and be solid from the back of the court.&rdquo;<br /><br />But even if the 22-year-old is able to overcome Cilic and then the quarter-final pairing, Britain&rsquo;s wait for a first grand slam since 1936 is likely to go on with the draw handing Murray a potential semi-final showdown against Rafael Nadal.<br /><br />The Spanish No3 seed faces Frenchman Gael Monfils in the fourth round.