Coming into the Sony Open, No. 6 Andy Murray was in search of his first singles title of the year after not making a finals appearance thus far early in the season.
While he hasn't quite reached the final destination down in Miami, a 6-4, 6-1 victory over No. 11 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga means he has his second victory over a top-15 player in the world. British Tennis' official Twitter account announced the result after the match went final:
The fourth-round victory for Murray puts him through to the quarterfinals and gives him yet another signature win on a rough year for the Brit thus far.
Prior to the triumph for Murray that earned him a spot in the quarters, he addressed the fact that he split with former coach Ivan Lendl last week. The 26-year-old spoke about how heartbroken he was following the breakup in a statement, per Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times:
The best thing to do was just to move on. You know, it’s a tough one for me, because he’s been a big part of my life. He’s been a big part of my team. He made a huge difference to my tennis.
Lendl also spoke in the statement, via Rothenberg:
Having helped him achieve his goal of winning major titles, I feel like it is time for me to concentrate on some of my own projects moving forward, including playing more events around the world, which I am really enjoying.
Following the victory over Tsonga under his belt, Murray left a note for his fanbase, according to Tennis TV:
With Murray now moving on to the next round of the Sony Open, here's a recap of the match against Tsonga and a look ahead to Murray's next match against No. 2 Novak Djokovic.
After winning the match over Tsonga, Murray continues a run at a location where he has proven he's extremely comfortable.
Over the course of his career, the Briton has regularly made late runs in the Sony Open and often has come out on top. The tournament's official Twitter account shared the results for Murray following the match:
The first set was a tight one for Murray as Tsonga fought back to win four games, but ultimately the Brit's serving percentage put him over the top. His first-serve percentage registered at 79 percent, allowing Murray to get off the starts he wanted during nearly every service game.
Tsonga, in comparison, only pulled off 59 percent of his first serves. The French player only won 13 of 23 first-serve points in the first set and finished with even fewer in the second set, securing 4 of 14.
Tennis TV provides a look at the match statistics for the fourth-round match:
In the second set, there was never any doubt that Murray would win the match as he quickly pulled away from Tsonga, only allowing him to take just one game. Tsonga was undone by the 30 unforced errors during the contest and never recovered from the first set.
The split with Lendl might have had something to do with Murray's quick rebound from a poor showing at Indian Wells, as Russell Fuller of BBC notes:
Murray played with real freedom in his easy win over Tsonga. Maybe the angst of an impending break up affected his form in Indian Wells.— Russell Fuller (@russellcfuller) March 25, 2014
Chris Fowler of ESPN also witnessed the fourth-round match and spoke about Murray's play on the court:
Ringside for a dream lineup at #SonyOpen. Murray-Tsonga, then Fed- Gasquet. Rafa later. Andy playing well— Chris Fowler (@cbfowler) March 25, 2014
The huge win for Murray means he now gets to face one of the best players in the world as a reward. With Djokovic coming up in the quarterfinals, Murray will have a chance to prove just how much his game has turned around with a tight match or even a victory to reach the semifinals.
Can Murray win a fourth Sony Open?
The Djoker and Murray have faced one another 19 times throughout their careers, with the Serbian holding an 11-8 advantage, according to the ATP World Tour site.
In two matches last season, both players took one victory as Djokovic won in the Australian Open final and Murray claimed the Wimbledon final. As for the last five hard-court matches between the two, Djokovic has a 4-1 advantage over Murray.
Murray's victory over Tsonga shows that he has grown from the split with Lendl. But going up against a player like Djokovic, who recently won at Indian Wells, Murray has a chance to prove that he's truly back and ready to compete for singles titles.
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