Andy on a Gallic charge: Simon is Murray"s 39th victim as Scot moves into last eight

Andy on a Gallic charge: Simon is Murray's 39th victim as Scot moves into last eight



22:22 GMT, 27 March 2012

Andy Murray’s own private Agincourt continues. He claimed yet another French scalp when he overcame world No 13 Gilles Simon to reach the last eight of the Sony Ericsson Open.

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Power play: Andy Murray breezed past Gilles Simon

With Ivan Lendl in his box there has
been no repeat of Murray’s baffling struggles in his adopted hometown of
the past two years and today (around 8pm UK time) he takes on Serbian
No 2 Janko Tipsarevic for a place in the semi-finals and a possible
meeting with Rafael Nadal.

For the 24-year-old Scot, who earlier
in the day had confirmed his absence from next week’s GB Davis Cup tie
against Belgium in Glasgow, it was important to get the job done in
straight sets as conditions were steaming hot and Tipsarevic had
finished by lunchtime.

Top stuff: Murray

Top stuff: Murray

Power play: Murray dominated Simon

A break in the middle of each set
against the talented counter-puncher sealed it. Simon must hate playing
Murray — he is responsible for the French-bashing statistic more than
anyone, having lost the eight times they have met, going back to 2007.

While it is understandable that
Murray feels he has more important uses for his time than the middle
rungs of the Davis Cup, it is still a massive blow to a GB team who are
only two victories away from what would be a return to the elite 16-team
World Group.

Instead it will be left to James Ward
and the hero of February’s upset win over Slovakia, Dan Evans, to try
and beat players ranked considerably higher as captain Leon Smith named
an unchanged team that also includes the swiftly improving doubles pair
of Ross Hutchins and Colin Fleming.

Watchful eye: Ivan Lendl takes a close interest in proceedings

Watchful eye: Ivan Lendl takes a close interest in proceedings

Behind the world No 4’s thinking is
that this summer is uniquely jam-packed, with five Masters level events,
three Grand Slams and an Olympics falling within the space of less than
six months.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
remain on course for the semi-finals with Roger Federer the odd man out
this week from the game’s dominant four players.

He made a surprise 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
third-round exit at the hands of a reviving Andy Roddick to end his
resurgent run of form. Federer, 30, had looked on course to regain the
world No 1 spot this year after amassing a 40-2 match record since
September’s US Open.

Out: Simon

Out: Simon

Nobody expected him to lose to
Roddick, ranked 34 after enduring his least successful year on the tour
since 2001. The defeat meant the ending of one of those amazing
sequences that attach themselves to Federer’s career was snapped: he had
gone 77 matches versus players outside the top 30 and beaten them every
time, a far longer run than any of his rivals have managed.

Murray’s record against the French is becoming almost as remarkable.