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Roads look clear for Andy vs Novak final

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NEW YORK (AFP) – Andy Murray contests his sixth US Open quarter-final on Wednesday looking to maintain his stranglehold over Kei Nishikori and take a step closer to a dream title showdown with Novak Djokovic.

Murray won the first of his three career majors at the US Open in 2012 and will be the favourite to make a fourth semi-final at the season’s last Grand Slam.

The world number two has a 7-1 record against Nishikori whose only win over the Briton came at the World Tour Finals in 2014.

This year, Murray came out on top in five sets to help steer Britain past Japan in the Davis Cup before cantering to a straight sets win in the Olympics semi-finals.

All in all, Murray is on a 26-1 run since losing the French Open final to Djokovic in June, collecting the Queen’s Club, Wimbledon and Olympic titles on the way.

But he won’t under-estimate the threat posed by Nishikori, who made the final in New York in 2014 having knocked out Djokovic in the semi-finals.

“He played some good stuff at the Olympics and won the bronze,’’ said Murray who reached the quarter-final with a brutal dismissal of Grigor Dimitrov where he lost just five games.

“I played a really good match against Kei in Rio and I’ll need to do that again if I want to beat him because he’s one of the best players in the world, plays extremely well on hard court.’’

Djokovic targets a 10th successive semi-final appearance on Tuesday when he faces longtime rival Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, one of three Frenchmen in the last-eight.

World number one Djokovic, the champion in New York in 2011 and 2015, has hardly broken sweat in the first four rounds.

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