At long last, Murray reaches semis in Newport

7/14/2006 - Tennis

NEWPORT, R.I. -- Top-seeded Andy Murray won a pair of matches to advance to the semifinals at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships on Friday.

The 19-year-old Murray, who advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon before losing to Marcos Baghdatis, completed a rain-delayed second-round match by beating Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-2.

Just over an hour later, he took the court again, relying on a steady groundstroke, strong slicing backhand and consistent serve in dominating Robert Kendrick 6-0, 6-0 to reach the semifinals. The match lasted 59 minutes.

"I did everything pretty well," Murray said. "I got a percentage of my first serves well, returned well and passed well."

Kendrick said a sore right shoulder might have hindered his play, but he wasn't about to retire from the match.

"I'd rather take a beating like a man than retire," he said.

Murray will face eighth-seeded Justin Gimelstob, who beat Kristian Pless 6-3, 6-1 in 53 minutes.

Mark Philippoussis, who finished out of the top 100 the last two years because of injuries, beat Mardy Fish 7-6 (7), 6-3 to advance to the other semifinal. He'll face sixth-seeded Jurgen Melzer, who defeated Alex Bogdanovic 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Pless appeared agitated with the condition of the courts, which were soaked by thunderstorms the last two days. Gimelstob, going for his first career title, is making his 10th appearance at Newport, the only grass-court tournament held in North America.

"It was obvious he wasn't fond of the conditions," Gimelstob said. "A big part of tennis is adversity management. On paper it looks like there are only two matches [for his first title], but there are so many obstacles."

After rain postponed some matches the previous two days, the players were greeted by blue skies and temperatures in the low 80s.

No top seed has ever won in the tournament's 30-year history as a tour event.

Earlier in the day, Fish won his second-round match 6-2, 6-3 over Thiago Alves.

The Hall of Fame championships are held in conjunction with induction ceremonies. This year's class of Patrick Rafter, Gabriela Sabatini and Gianni Clerici is scheduled to be enshrined Saturday before the matches.