Tennis: John McEnroe gives 'Baby Fed' a serve

Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov serves to Andy Murray at the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Photo / AP
Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov serves to Andy Murray at the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Photo / AP

Andy Murray won nine of 10 games to start and overwhelmed Grigor Dimitrov 6-1 6-2 6-2 at the US Open today to reach the quarter-finals for the 22nd time in his past 23 grand slam tournaments.

During the changeover right before the last game, it suddenly began to rain, and play was delayed only slightly before the shower passed.

Commentating for ESPN, John McEnroe seized the moment.

"This has been such a blow out that the sky is crying," McEnroe joked.

The 57-year-old McEnroe was savage throughout his call of Dimitrov's beat down, going as far as to suggest the Bulgarian was not trying.

"He didn't show any heart, any willingness to dig in and try to battle," added McEnroe when it was all over.

McEnroe described Dimitrov's performance as "horrible", and the 25-year-old admitted "today I ran out of fuel, I think, physically and mentally".

Number two seed Murray, understandably, was delighted with his performance.

"I played extremely well. Tactically, played a good match," Murray said. "And I served very well when I was behind in the games. Got a lot of free points with my serve and that was important."

He even was credited with one serve at 141mph (227km/h), which he said would be the first of his career that topped 140.

"I served one at 145 in San Jose, but the next day," Murray said with a smile, "they re-calibrated the gun because it was completely wrong."

Of today's fastest serve, Murray said: "I think that was lucky. I only did it once. So I'm not expecting to do it again."

He played well, certainly, but also faced little resistance from No. 22 Dimitrov, who had accumulated 23 unforced errors and only two winners by the time he trailed 3-0 in the second set.

Murray has lost three times in 10 meetings against Dimitrov, whose all-court game and smooth, one-handed backhand earned him the nickname "Baby Fed", as in Roger Federer.

That includes in the 2014 Wimbledon quarter-finals and in their most recent encounter, in May at Miami.

But Murray is playing about as well as possible lately, reaching the final at each of his last seven tournaments prior to the US Open. He has won 26 of his past 27 matches, including a title at Wimbledon and a second consecutive singles gold medal at the Olympics.

"Andy is the best player right now out there," Dimitrov said.

The 2012 champion at Flushing Meadows will face No. 6 Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals - the other matchup on their side of the draw is No. 3 Stan Wawrinka vs 2009 U.S. Open title winner Juan Martin del Potro. Murray beat Nishikori in the semi-finals at the Rio Games last month.

The only time in the past six seasons that Murray failed to get at least this far at a major that he entered came a year ago at the US Open, when he lost to Kevin Anderson in the fourth round. Now, though, Murray has a chance to become only the fourth man in the Open era to reach all four grand slam finals in a single season.

He lost to No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the finals of the Australian Open in January and French Open in June, before winning Wimbledon for the second time in July.

Since the professional era started in 1968, only Djokovic (2015), Roger Federer (2004, 2006 and 2007) and Rod Laver (1969, when he completed a calendar-year Grand Slam) have been to a season's four major title matches.

- AP

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