Andy Murray moved into his second ATP Tour quarter-final in three weeks with a 6-4 6-3 victory over world no 48 Pablo Cuevas at the European Open.
Having dispatched Kimmer Coppejans on Tuesday, Murray was back on the court after a day’s rest and was in good form to record a comfortable straight-sets victory over the Uruguayan in Antwerp.
The Scot, who has suggested he could withdraw if his wife Kim goes into labour with their third child, will next face Romanian qualifier Marius Copil who ended the hopes third seed Diego Schwartzman with a three-set victory earlier in the day.
“I felt a bit better today. I thought I served quite well for most of the match and when I was able to get into the baseline rallies, I felt I was hitting the ball quite clean, which is good,” said Murray in his on-court interview after victory in 84 minutes.
“He served very well, which made it difficult for me to get the breaks, but I thought for me it was a good match.
“It’s getting there. It sometimes takes me a little bit longer to get warmed up in the matches and sort of feel confident with my movement. But today I think from the beginning of the match I started pretty well. It was a good day.”
Murray has wanted back-to-back games and after a win on Thursday, he will have to win four games in four days if he is to lift the trophy on Sunday.
While that remains a huge ask given where he is in his comeback, Murray’s hopes of a first title since March 2017 have also been raised. Top seed Gael Monfils, a possible opponent for the former world No 1 in final, was stunned by teenage Italian wild card Jannik Sinner and second seed David Goffin was also beaten.
Victory for Murray improves his record to seven wins and seven defeats since his return from hip surgery in January and his run in Belgium means he has matched the run to the last eight in Beijing.
The two-time Wimbledon champion was beaten by French Open runner-up and world No 5 Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals but will have high hopes of a win against world No 92 Copil.
“I know him a little bit, he’s had some good wins this week,” Murray added.
“He plays well on this surface, so I’ll need to be ready for that, he serves extremely well, so I’ll need to return well.”