Murray stays on course for fourth Queen's title
By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) - Andy Murray eased past Fernando Verdasco at the Aegon Championships on Thursday but an expected quarter-final showdown with the man who beat him at Wimbledon last year was scuppered by Luxembourg left-hander Gilles Muller.
Top seed Murray, bidding for a record-equaling fourth title at the prestigious Queen's Club, fended off some typically ferocious hitting by Spaniard Verdasco to win 7-5 6-4 and delight a large Center Court crowd.
Earlier defending champion Grigor Dimitrov, who stunned Briton Murray in the Wimbledon quarter-finals last year, became the latest high-profile seed to fall, losing 6-4 7-6(5) to Muller.
Bulgarian Dimitrov, the sixth seed, struggled to deal with Muller's dangerous serve as he joined French Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka and 14-times major winner Rafa Nadal on the casualty list of a tournament boasting increased prize money and ranking points this year.
The 32-year-old Muller has served 56 aces in two matches so far and will now take aim at Murray for a place in the semis.
"It's these challenges that I'm working for to play those matches on the big courts against the best guys in the world," Muller, who has battled his way back into the top 50 after sliding to 374 in the ATP rankings in 2013 after elbow problems.
Muller broke in the 10th game when Dimitrov made some sloppy mistakes and then hit back from 0-3 in the second set tiebreak to clinch victory with a wrong-footing forehand winner.
Murray, dressed head to toe in white, made a fast start against left-hander Verdasco and marched into a 3-0 lead. Continued...