Andy MURRAY was hardly at his best but did enough to book a semi-final spot against Mardy Fish at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati with a 6-3 6-3 win over Gilles Simon.
In baking conditions, the world No. 4 rarely looked like worsening his six-one record against Simon, but struggled with his serve and his ground strokes at times before finding some consistency in the second set.
Murray had to encounter a handful of shaky moments in a match that was played at a slow, often mundane pace, but a gradual improvement in his first-serve percentages saw him home in an hour and 35 minutes.
Murray admitted afterwards that he had shown some early caution in order to get a foothold in the game.
“I have to play my game against him and it works very well,” he said. “I’ve seen many players try to blast him off. You have to wait for the right moments. I need to keep improving a few per cent every day.”
He will now meet Fish in today’s semi-final after he beat Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-4.