ANDY MURRAY roared into the Australian Open semi-finals with a straight-sets victory over home favourite Nick Kyrgios in Melbourne today.
The Scot won 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena and will now take on Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in the last four.
Playing his 22nd grand slam quarter-final and 16th in succession, Murray baited his 19-year-old opponent into unforced errors on his way to taking the opening set 6-3 in front of a 15,000-strong crowd.
Both players held serve comfortably in the opening exchanges, Murray doing so in the opening game from 0-30 down with the help of two aces, but the Scot soon had the edge in longer rallies.
The sixth seed took all the pace off the ball and forced Kyrgios to try to make the running, the world number 53 hitting back-to-back forehand errors to lose his serve in the sixth game.
Kyrgios looked understandably on edge on such a big stage in his home grand slam and received a warning from the umpire for an audible obscenity as he battled to save two set points.
And although he did so to force Murray to serve for the set, the 27-year-old did so with ease to take it after 32 minutes.
Kyrgios had to save a break point early in the second set but was having no joy on Murray’s serve.
Murray dropped just three points on his serve in the set, winning his last four service games to love, but almost faltered when it mattered most in the tie-break.
A brilliant forehand lob helped Murray into a 5-4 lead with two serves to come, only for him to serve his first double fault of the contest after Kyrgios successfully challenged a line call.
However, a service winner earned his first set point – and had Kyrgios smashing his racket into the ground in disgust – before another superb lob, this time on the backhand, secured the set for a commanding lead.
Murray served his way out of a potentially difficult spot at 0-30 in the fifth game of the third set and immediately capitalised, taking his third break point in the next game with another superb lob that Kyrgios could not rescue, even with a shot played between his legs.
However, Kyrgios then forced his first break point of the entire match and although Murray saved that, an excellent return from Kyrgios gave him another which he won as Murray hit a tame backhand into the net.
Murray then appeared to cut a bandage off his left thigh at the change of ends and it looked to do the trick, the Olympic champion breaking serve again to take a 5-3 lead.
This time there was to be no lapse in concentration and Murray served out to take the match in two hours and five minutes.