Fourth seed Andy Murray powered into the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters with a 6-2 6-3 win over Potito Starace.Moving and returning well, the world number four quietened a partisan crowd by taking the opening set against the world number 44 with his second break.Starace redressed an earlier Murray break to level the second set at 3-3 as the Scot’s level of intensity dropped.But Murray played a magnificent eighth game and broke to love to book a last eight match with German Florian Mayer.It was a near faultless performance from Murray, who displayed magnificent athleticism to retrieve seemingly impossible situations.”I won a lot of points on long rallies where I probably shouldn’t have, and at important moments,” said Murray, who is 24 on Sunday.Having breezed through the opening set Murray began the second with another wonderful point, in which he raced forward to play a short shot at the net, then somehow recovered to make a backhand before firing a powerful winner from the baseline.
There was a brief lull in his performance as he lost serve having overhit some shots, then wasted an opportunity to create another break point when he sent a straightforward forehand into the net.The Italian then moved 15-30 up on Murray’s serve, but the Scot regained his imperious touch and secured an impressive victory in one hour 17 minutes.Murray will now face Mayer for the first time in the quarter-finals after the world number 28 defeated Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina 7-5 6-4.”I’ve seen him play quite a few times,” Murray said. “He’s a very tricky player, he has some very strange shots, but he’s a really good ball striker.”He comes to the net from awkward positions on the court and plays well. His serve is probably his weakness so hopefully I can get a few looks at breaking him.”But it’s going to be a tough match. You go into all matches on this surface believing it’s going to be very difficult.” – BCC