By Steve Gorten
KEY BISCAYNE – His giant celebratory cake, frosted in green like a tennis court and topped with different colored letters reading “CONGRATS ANDY! 500 ATP MATCH WINS!!!” was rolled out onto stadium court after Andy Murray’s three-set triumph Tuesday against Kevin Anderson.
Murray opened wide and pretended to bite into the cake, which was later placed on a table in front of him at his post-match press conference – still not sliced.
He was asked if he was a big fan of cake, as much as his mom, whose three-sentence Twitter bio ends with “And I’m serious about cake.”
“No, no, I’m not,” Murray said. “I like chocolate cake. I don’t know if that is chocolate cake or not, but I’m into my chocolate cake.”
On Tuesday, Murray had his cake – it was vanilla – and could have eaten it, too, had he wanted after beating Anderson 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the fourth round of the Miami Open to become the ninth active player on the ATP Tour, and 46th in the Open Era, with 500 career wins.
But for the 27-year-old Brit, ranked fourth in the world and seeded third in this tournament, it was sweet enough to reach an exclusive milestone.
“There has not been loads of players that have done it, so it’s nice for me. The fact that it happened here as well,” said Murray, the Miami Open’s 2009 and 2013 men’s champ and a resident of Miami. “It’s just fitting because I have spent so much time training here and working to get better.
“But I hope for me this isn’t the end and I can keep trying to progress,” Murray added of his achievement. “You know, with each win, you get closer and closer to going past a great player. The people that are ahead of me have all done pretty amazing things in the sport, so that’s what’s nice about it. And it feels like it gives me motivation as well.”
“I don’t know why, but getting to 500 gives me motivation to go on and try and win more. When you look at the list of players and the wins that certain guys have got, it gives you something to aim at.”
Murray will next face Dominic Thiem, an unseeded Austrian who advanced Tuesday with a 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-5 win against 28th-seeded Adrian Mannarino from France. It’s his fourth quarterfinals appearance of the year – he started the season with a run to the finals of the Australian Open.
Making his 10th appearance in Miami, Murray has reached the final here three times – beating Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer for his two titles before losing to Djokovic in 2012.