Andy Murray is still looking for his first Grand Slam singles title, and his 2012 Australian Open has shown serious promise. But he will have to get past Japanese upstart Kei Nishikori in the first of four men's singles quarterfinals.
Murray's only dropped one set — his first of the tournament, in a four-set victory over American Ryan Harrison — on his path to the quarterfinals, and has dispatched his foes in increasingly short order. His second-round win over Edouard Roger-Vasselin came by a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 count, but he routed Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 in the third round, and crushed Mikhail Kukukshkin 6-1, 6-1, 1-0 in the fourth round. Murray's been to the finals of the Australian Open in each of the last two years, and with results like the ones he's posted, he could well play for the title again.
Nishikori's ride has been a lot bumpier: he's played two five-setters, a comeback from two sets down against Matthew Ebden in the second round and an epic, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 back-and-forth with No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round. And even his lone three-set victory came in odd fashion: 6-1 and 6-0 opening and final sets were wrapped around a 7-6 (9-7) second set against Stephane Robert in the first round.
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