Murray too good for Verdasco; Muller wins

Defending champion Dimitrov bites the dust

Murray too good for Verdasco; Muller wins

Andy Murray moved a step closer to a record-equalling fourth Queen's Club title as the top seed defeated Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 6-4, while Grigor Dimitrov joined the lengthy list of star casualties.

While defending champion Dimitrov was beaten 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) by Gilles Muller in the second round on Thursday, Murray avoided becoming the latest big name to fall with a second successive straight-set win at the Wimbledon warm-up event.

Dimitrov's lacklustre exit against the World No 48 from Luxembourg came hot on the heels of Rafael Nadal's shock loss to Ukrainian journeyman Alexandr Dolgopolov and French Open champion Stanislas  Wawrinka's defeat against Kevin Anderson. 

Murray had been due to face Dimitrov in the quarterfinals on Friday, so the series of upsets leave the World No 3, who now boasts an impressive 22-5 career record at Queen's, as the strong favourite to win the title ahead of his meeting with the unheralded Muller.

The 28-year-old last triumphed at Queen's in 2013 and if he lifts the giant silver trophy on Sunday he will join Boris Becker, John McEnroe, Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt as the joint record winner of the tournament.

"Fernando is obviously an extremely powerful guy and you don't have a chance to get into some of the rallies. But he didn't serve so well which gave me a few opportunities," Murray said.

"I was happy with the way I moved - it was better than the first match." Although Verdasco had pushed Murray to the brink, taking a two-set lead before losing in five, in the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2013, the Scot had won 10 of their 11 previous meetings and he was always in command without quite hitting top gear this time.

Murray started with authority from the baseline and broke Verdasco in the second game.

Bopanna in semis 

Second seeds Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea struggled past Marin Draganja and Henri Kontinen in two tight sets to make it to the semifinals of the Gerry Weber Open at Halle. 

The Indo-Romanian pair won 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) after battling hard for one hour and 22 minutes. They next face the American pair of Eric Butorac and Scott Lipsky. 

Sania-Dellacqua lose

Playing with new partner Casey Dellacqua in the absence of Martina Hingis, India’s Sania Mirza crashed out of the WTA Aegon Classic. The top-seeded Indo-Australian pair lost 4-6, 2-6 to unseeded pair of Jie Zheng and Yung-Jan Chan in the opening round.  

Hingis could not play in this tournament with Sania for personal reasons but she will be back for next week’s event in Eastbourne and then at the Wimbledon.

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