Andy Murray battled past Dominic Stricker in the quarter-finals in Nottingham
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Andy Murray’s mission to enter Wimbledon as a seeded player took another step in the right direction as the three-time grand slam champion held off Dominic Stricker to reach the last four of the LTA’s Rothesay Open Nottingham.
Murray, riding a seven-match winning streak following his triumph in Surbiton and two opening wins in Nottingham, reached the semi-finals of a second straight Challenger Tour event with a 7-6(2) 7-5 win over the Swiss.
Stricker – a former junior prodigy who has trained with Stan Wawrinka in recent months – certainly provided a stern test, making some inroads on Murray’s serve which had been impenetrable in his opening matches.
But the 36-year-old responded after being broken for 1-3 in the second set, pushing aside frustration at some questionable line calls to rally and close the match out in straight sets.
“It’s obviously brilliant,” said Murray afterwards. “It was a really tight match today against one of the best young players in the world. He has a really good game, huge shots from the back of the court, but also a really nice touch up at the net and I’m really glad to get through that one as it was very close.
“I thought in the first set tiebreak I played really well, came up with some really good passing shots to get me that tiebreak and in the second set, I think when I broke back immediately when he went 3-1 up, it gave me the momentum back.
“I felt like I was creating a lot of chances, and that’s the best I’ve played across the last two weeks in terms of how I hit the ball. That was really positive.”
Murray has marched into the semi-finals in Nottingham
Reaching the semi-final in Nottingham keeps Murray’s dream of being seeded at Wimbledon alive, with a run to the title needed in Nottingham for him to have any realistic chance.
Murray would likely move just inside the world’s top 40 if he goes on to lift the trophy, though that is also dependent on results elsewhere across the tour.
That would still leave him short of the top-32 position required to be seeded at the All England Club – barring any withdrawals – but he has one more chance to earn ranking points at Queen’s Club next week.
Murray has no points to defend and 500 ranking points for winning the title, or 300 for reaching the final, would almost certainly guarantee a move well inside the world’s top 30.
A run to the last four – which would earn him 180 points – could also be enough if other results fall his way, though he is unseeded in West London next week. Because of that, he could well have to play and beat the likes of Carlos Alcaraz or Holger Rune in the opening round to stay in contention.
Elsewhere in Nottingham, Katie Boulter beat Harriet Dart in an all-British encounter to reach her first WTA semi-final, prevailing 6-3 7-5 in a tense Centre Court encounter.
And it will be another all-British clash next for the British No 1, after qualifier Heather Watson sealed her place in the final four with a 7-6(2) 7-5 win over Viktorija Golubic.
Joining them in the last four is Jodie Burrage, into her first WTA semi-final after battling past Magdalena Frech 6-2 3-6 7-5, where Alize Cornet awaits.
It is the first time in 48 years that three British women have reached the semi-final of the same WTA event, after Virginia Wade, Sue Barker and Glynis Coles reached that stage of the Paris Indoors in 1975.
For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website
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