Andy Murray benefits from extra sleep at US Open

Andy Murray takes on Kei Nishikori today for a place in the US Open semi-finals. Pic: Getty
Andy Murray takes on Kei Nishikori today for a place in the US Open semi-finals. Pic: Getty
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Andy Murray has been struggling to sleep at the US Open, but insists his mind has been refreshed by Monday’s demolition of Grigor Dimitrov.

Murray produced a flawless display against the Bulgarian to win 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 and now faces Japan’s Kei Nishikori at Flushing Meadows for a place in the semi-finals, with the match due to start at 6.30pm today.

The British number one had been out of sorts in the previous round, when he had to battle past Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi, and it seemed fatigue might finally be catching up with him at the last grand slam of the season.

Dimitrov, however, ran into one of Murray’s best performances of the year and the Scot believes he is now back on track ahead of the quarter-finals.

“I’ve not been sleeping great since I’ve been here. I don’t know why,” Murray said.

“On Sunday night I tried to get in bed early and I slept for 12 hours straight. I never do that. I never sleep that long. I went to bed very early.”

Murray added: “Grigor played his best, but I didn’t really give him a chance to get into the match. That’s the beauty of an individual sport. Just because you play badly a couple of days ago doesn’t mean I’m going to play badly tonight.

“My best tennis is in there. Not every day do you play your best. When you don’t play your best and win, it’s a really positive thing.

“A lot of people worry about that or panic, like, ‘This is terrible’. But you played one bad match. I won. I’m still in the tournament. I was able to play great tennis against Grigor.”

Murray has reached the final at seven consecutive tournaments and has spent almost twice as much time on court here as Novak Djokovic, who was given successive walkovers in rounds two and three.

Davis Cup captain Leon Smith will be particularly interested in Murray’s energy levels ahead of Great Britain’s semi-final against Argentina next week, but he believes the world number two can outlast his rivals in New York.

“Djokovic has been given the rub of the green with those withdrawals, especially if he’s carrying injuries. It gave him more time to work with those,” Smith said

“But Andy works very hard to be in the shape he is in. He’s incredibly robust and very strong. Who knows what Novak is feeling like? He should be pretty fresh.

“Andy is playing great and he should be confident. Everyone is a bit tired obviously, but if anyone can last the course Andy can.”

Djokovic – who was due to play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the early hours of this morning – looked in ominous form during his straight-sets win over Kyle Edmund on Sunday, but Murray insists he drew no extra motivation from the Serbian’s ruthless display against his compatriot.

“It’s not maybe Kyle’s fault. If Novak plays great tennis, it’s not easy to play well against him,” Murray said.

“I don’t really think about sending messages, purely because I know how much can change in a couple of days.

“It was a very quick match, one where I played very well, got a little bit of confidence back after not playing well a couple days ago. That was very positive for me. If it has an impact on any of the other players in the tournament, I don’t know.”

Murray is set for a more testing encounter against Nishikori, but he holds an excellent record against the world number seven.

Nishikori, a US Open runner-up two years ago, has won only one of their eight previous meetings and he was beaten 6-1, 6-4 when they met at the Olympics last month.

“I have played well against him in the past, but he likes these conditions,” Murray said.

“He plays well in New York. He’s made his only slam final here. He beat Novak here (in 2014). He’s obviously I think playing pretty well this summer. He played some good stuff at the Olympics and won the bronze.

“I played a really good match against him when we played a few weeks ago. I’m aware I’ll need to do that again in a couple days if I want to beat him, because he’s one of the best players in the world.”