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Raonic to Murray: 'Don't be sorry'
Probably in a misguided attempt to boost his confidence, Milos Raonic suggested that it would be Olympic gold medalist Andy Murray who would have to change his game when they met on Arthur Ashe Stadium in the fourth round of the US Open.
Raonic was correct in a way he had not envisaged. Murray changed his game so often, varying his shots, spins, placements and tactics to such a dizzying degree that the big Canadian was sent on his way just before the rains came 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. The score, if anything, was kind to Raonic. His opponent was conducting the orchestra from start to finish.
Murray, in fact, was so dominant that perversely — considering how much emphasis had been placed on Raonic's serve — he did not have to face a single break point on his own.
“That does not happen very often, especially on a hard court against someone who hits the ball as hard as he does,” Murray said. “But, after serving poorly in my first match, I was very happy with the way I served tonight.”
Murray should have been happy about every aspect of his game because he did very little wrong. He came up with some superb passing shots and a couple of well-judged drop shots that sowed even more doubts into his 21-year-old opponent’s mind.
“I passed really well tonight,” Murray said. “Kind of made him back away from the net. I had to focus and play extremely solid, and I did that.”
Murray goes into a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the eighth consecutive time, a sign of considerable consistency, especially for a man who has yet to win a Slam title.
“That’s what I want to be doing at this stage of my career,” he said. “It didn’t seem to matter how many ATP Masters Series titles I won (six so far), I just always got asked about my performances in the Slams.
“I’m just glad my consistency has been better in them. It’s not an easy thing to do, to make eight straight, but Roger (Federer) has made something like 34 consecutive quarters which is an unbelievable record. But I’m happy so far.”
Raonic offered a very honest assessment of the match afterwards.
“When I did get far ahead on critical moments, he just did things I really have no answer for, something I really hadn’t experienced. There were moments when I lapsed just a little bit because he was on top of me so much. He was just too good. The whole time I was trying to get myself going, just trying anything to destruct him as much as possible. I couldn’t.”
The pair had an amicable exchange at the net as the Canadian recounted. “He said ‘Sorry, I got lucky a few times.’ I said, ‘Don’t be sorry, it was simply amazing. Keep it up, and you’ll do well.’”
The next opponent Murray will have to do well against is the tall Croat, Marin Cilic, who blasted his way past Slovakian newcomer Martin Klizan 7-5, 6-4, 6-0. The pair have met many times in the past with Murray winning their last encounter at Wimbledon this year.