Wimbledon - Murray makes light work of Lopez
Andy Murray coasted into the semi-finals of Wimbledon for the third year in succession thanks to a 6-3 6-4 6-4 defeat of the unseeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez on Centre Court.
The fourth seed, desperately seeking his first Grand Slam title, was never remotely threatened by the unseeded Spaniard, who seemed drained of energy following his gruelling fourth-round victory over Lukasz Kubot when he came from two sets down to win in five.
Murray, bidding to become the first British men's singles champion at Wimbledon for 75 years, said: "I've played a little bit better every year here.
"I've been beaten in the semis for the past two years and this time I want to go further."
Coming into a near-empty Centre Court as the dust settled on Roger Federer's five-set defeat by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the one-sided match struggled to produce much atmosphere despite Murray again carrying the hopes of the host nation.
Murray looked a little tentative at first but Lopez, who knocked out number eight seed Andy Roddick in the third round, was unable to take advantage as the Scot dropped only four points on his own serve en route to a 40-minute 6-3 success.
Murray did not have to do anything extraordinary as the Spaniard, one of the few players to use serve and volley tactics on a regular basis in this year's tournament, mixed up the occasional eye-catching winner with a string of unforced errors.
The Scot broke in the fifth game of the second set after finding an impossible angle with a lovely two-handed backhand and won that set too at a canter.
Not until the eighth game of the third set did Lopez force his first break points but Murray saved both and went on to finish with a flourish by sending down three successive aces after only two hours of action.
"It was good. I got off to a good start in all of the sets and that helps against someone like Feli because he serves well," Murray said.
"Normally against the big servers, they like to put pressure on you towards the end of the set but because I got ahead early in all of them, I was able to dictate the points from the back of the court and played a good match."
Murray, into his third Grand Slam semi of the year, has won only four of his 15 matches against Nadal who triumphed in last year's semi-final here in straight sets.
"I believe I can win against him," Murray said. "I had chances last year - I was up a break in the third set and had breakpoint on my serve in the second set. I think there was only one break in the first set. We both played good tennis.
"But I just have to have a better game plan. Sometimes it comes down to strategy. Sometimes it comes down to having more experience. Yeah, just have to go out there and play well and serve well and believe and I'll have a chance.
"I know how difficult it's going to be. I know what the task is. So I'll be ready for it."