Murray cruises into Madrid semis against wayward Berdych
Andy Murray claimed his first win over Tomas Berdych on clay and set up a potential clash against Rafael Nadal with a comfortable straight-sets victory in the Madrid Open quarter-finals on Friday.
Defending champion Murray went into the last-eight meeting with a 0-3 record on clay against Berdych, who beat him at the same stage in the ATP Masters 1000 tournament three years ago.
But Berdych had no answer for Murray on this occasion, his lack of accuracy proving crucial in a 6-3 6-2 defeat as the Brit took another step towards defending the title he won 12 months ago in the Spanish capital.
He will now face either Joao Sousa or Nadal, who overcame Murray in three sets in the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters last month.
Murray began proceedings with a comfortable service game and quickly moved into the ascendancy as he pounced on a sloppy start from Berdych, who paid the price for a collection of errant groundstrokes, to go 2-0 ahead.
Berdych held serve to get on the scoreboard in game four after Murray had threatened another break with a pair of excellently constructed points.
The Czech was finally able to put some pressure on the Murray serve in the seventh game, but was unable to take advantage at 30-30 as an over-hit smash helped the world number two escape and take a 5-2 lead.
Murray was forced to serve for the opener after Berdych held to trim the lead to 5-3 after a game that lasted nearly 10 minutes, but the Scot had no issue in seeing out the set in 45 minutes.
Berdych appeared more composed in the second but, after the duo exchanged a pair of holds, a lapse at 2-2 proved costly for the world number eight as Murray seized the initiative.
With Murray break point up the two-time grand slam champion was able to get a look at a second serve and produced a fierce return that Berdych could only send long.
Murray held to love to consolidate the break and then went 5-2 up with an exquisite backhand drop shot before serving it out to keep his hopes of a successful defence intact.