Andy Murray defeats Benjamin Becker to reach Queen's semis

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Queen's
Andy Murray beats Benjamin Becker to make Queen's semi final

Andy Murray reached the Aegon Championships semi-finals for the third time with victory over Germany's Benjamin Becker at Queen's Club.

The world number two, twice a Queen's champion, showed no ill-effects from playing twice the day before as he came through a testing match 6-4 7-6 (7-3).

Murray will play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last four after the Frenchman beat Denis Kudla of the USA, 6-3 6-2.

It will be a repeat of the 2011 final, which Murray won in three sets.

"It will be a big step up and also a really big test for me, because he's been playing some great tennis the last couple of months," said Murray.

"He obviously had a very good run at the French Open, and he's a top grass-court player. He's one of the best in the world on this surface.

"I have had some tough matches with him on the grass before, so tomorrow will be the same."

Tsonga said: "The last time I played against him here it was really close. I will try to do the same thing and try to be more consistent on big point.

"On grass, the game can turn really quick. I think the margin is not that big. I'm sure I can do something."

Bad weather had forced Murray to complete his opening two matches on Thursday, but he saw off Becker in bright sunshine and a stiff breeze, despite a rather more uneven performance.

The 26-year-old Briton will be in confident mood after racking up three straight-sets wins on his return from a month out with a back injury.

The German netted a forehand to drop serve in the opening game and when he thumped a simple smash wide to fall 4-1 behind, a swift defeat loomed.

Murray helped him out with a loose service game before tightening things up to serve out the set to love after 34 minutes, at which point Becker called for the trainer.

The physio attended to his neck and back, and the German soon fell a break down in the second set, but his opponent was suddenly in a generous mood.

Murray gifted the advantage back to love in game four, prompting a losing run of three games before he clicked back into gear.

A terrific forehand down the line helped the Scot get back on level terms, but Becker was more than holding his own from the baseline now and it took a tie-break to separate them.

Murray was not about to risk a deciding set. He raced 6-0 clear and, although he gave home fans the slightest of scares by letting three match points slip by, Becker netted a backhand on the fourth and the Briton was through to the last four.

"All the matches this week are going to be tough because I haven't played a match for a month," added Murray.

"They're going to be tough, and there's going to be moments in the matches where your level drops a little bit.

"That's happened the last couple of matches, but it's important to go through them and come out the other side with a win, and I managed to do that the last couple of days."

There were surprises on the other side of the draw, where 32-year-old Lleyton Hewitt moved within sight of a fifth Queen's title with a 6-2 2-6 6-2 win over Argentine third seed Juan Martin del Potro.

"In the back of my mind I knew I could do it," said the Australian. "If everything fell together I knew I could play well.

"These are the times that I want to be playing my best tennis, going into a Slam in a week or so's time."

Hewitt will next face defending champion Marin Cilic, who knocked out second seed Tomas Berdych 7-5 7-6 (7-4).

British hopes ended in the doubles as Jamie Murray and Australian John Peers lost 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (9-11) 11-9 to top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan, while Colin Fleming and Jonny Marray went down 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 10-4 to Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna.

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