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Andy Murray beats Fernando Verdasco at Queen's Club to progress

Andy Murray  celebrates victory against Fernando Verdasco at the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club
Image: Andy Murray: Through to Queen's quarter-finals

Andy Murray moved a step closer to a record-equalling fourth Queen's Club title as the top seed defeated Fernando Verdasco 7-5 6-4.

Murray avoided becoming the latest big name to fall, following shock exits to Rafa Nadal, Grigor Dimitrov and Stan Wawrinka, with a second successive straight-sets win at the Wimbledon warm-up event.

Murray had been due to face Dimitrov in the quarter-finals on Friday, so the series of upsets leave the world No 3, who now boasts an impressive 22-5 career record at Queen's, as the strong favourite to win the title ahead of his meeting with the unheralded Gilles Muller from Luxembourg.

The 28-year-old last triumphed at Queen's in 2013 and if he lifts the giant silver trophy on Sunday he will join Boris Becker, John McEnroe, Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt as the joint record winner of the tournament.

"Fernando is obviously an extremely powerful guy and you don't have a chance to get into some of the rallies. But he didn't serve so well which gave me a few opportunities," Murray said.

"I was happy with the way I moved - it was better than the first match."

Murray in command

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Andy Murray walks off court with Fernando Verdasco at Queen's Club
Image: Murray consoles Fernando Verdasco at Queen's Club

Although Verdasco had pushed Murray to the brink, taking a two-set lead before losing in five, in the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2013, the Scot had won 10 of their 11 previous meetings and he was always in command without quite hitting top gear this time.

Murray started with authority from the baseline and broke Verdasco in the second game.

A miscued forehand into the net presented the world number 42 with an unexpected break in the seventh game, but Murray remained the more dynamic force and harried the Spaniard in a series of mistakes that cost him the set.

Verdasco responded by putting even more force into his groundstrokes in the second set and Murray had to spin full circle to get back into position after retrieving one rocket before unloading a brilliant winner.

If that didn't leave Verdasco utterly demoralised, Murray's act of escapology in the third game surely did the trick as the Scot recovered from 0-40 down to hold serve.

Faced with such formidable defence from Murray, there was a noticable drop in Verdasco's play and he finally surrendered with three double faults in a dismal and decisive service game late in the second set.

Luxembourg's Gilles Muller reacts after winning his match against Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov at Queen's Club
Image: Murray has a fondness for Luxembourg's Gilles Muller

While not the most feared of opponents in west Kensington, Muller can still pack a service punch, and has also fought back in style after two injury-plagued years.

Murray and his next opponent Muller trained at the same Barcelona tennis nursery in their youth, with the Dunblane native revealing a fondness for Friday's opponent.

"I've known him a long time, I've spent a bit of time with him recently through my friendship with Jamie and I want him to do well," Murray said.

"He's a nice guy, a good guy, quiet but good fun."

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