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Murray in line for Big Apple bonus

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Originally published on: 20/08/10 10:57

Andy Murray could find himself in contention for the biggest payday in tennis when he arrives in New York for the US Open.

The Scot, who laboured past Ernests Gulbis in Cincinnati yesterday, currently leads the US Open Series after defending his Rogers Cup title in Toronto last week and reaching the final of the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles last month.

The US Open Series rewards the players’ cumulative efforts across the American summer hard court season. The top performers on both the men’s and women’s tours will receive bonus prize money at the US Open proper.

Should the Series winner go on to win the year’s final Grand Slam, they will receive an additional $1 million, boosting the potential winner’s cheque up to $2.7 million in 2010.

The US Open Series incorporates the entire American hard court season

And having secured a quarter-final berth at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters this week, Murray is well-placed to wrap up the men’s Series before the final event, next week’s Pilot Pen Tennis in New Haven.

Murray leads the Series standings with 170 points, with David Nalbandian currently in second place with 110. Roger Federer, who won both the Series and Open in 2007, has 85 points.

The effort, though, is starting to take its toll on the 23-year-old. Murray played the majority of his matches under the glare of the mid-afternoon sun in Toronto, where he beat both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to retain his title.

All of the Scot’s matches in Cincinnati have been played during the day sessions. And after taking three sets to down Jeremy Chardy in the day session on Wednesday he found himself involved in another energy-sapping contest with Gulbis before prevailing 4-6 6-3 7-6(4).

“The conditions were very warm, I was struggling a little bit early on to control the ball and he was hitting huge and making it very difficult,” Murray said. “He is comfortable when he’s dictating the points and I wasn’t going for too much angle. I was hitting the ball hard and flat up the middle and he struggled with that.

“I just tried to play tough points and make him have to play great tennis to win the tie-break.

While matches, and particularly victories are the order of the day ahead of the US Open, where Murray reached his first Grand Slam final in 2008 but fell in the fourth round last year, he is wary of arriving in New York jaded.

“I need to up my game, get some good rest and hopefully I can get given an evening match because it’s been seven days in a row I’ve played between 12 and three o’clock and it’s been tough.”

Murray didn’t get his wish, however, and will face Mardy Fish in the last eight at midday local time. The American, a wildcard entrant in Cincy, defeated Richard Gasquet 7-5 6-2.

In stark contrast, Roger Federer advanced to the quarter-finals off the back of a second retirement from his opponent in succession. Like Denis Istomin in the Swiss’ opening match, Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew before a set had been completed with a sore shoulder.

The world No.2, who has played just 28 minutes’ tennis in the tournament, faces Nikolay Davydenko after the Russian beat David Ferrer 4-6 6-3 7-5.

Top seed Rafael Nadal recovered from match point down against Julien Benneteau to advance with a 5-7 7-6(6) 6-2 win and will play Marcos Baghdatis in the last eight.

Andy Roddick saw five match points come and go in the second set before finally closing out a confidence-boosting 6-4 6-7(7) 7-6(5) victory over Robin Soderling. He faces Novak Djokovic next, the Serb ending David Nalbandian’s run.

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