Straight-set wins for Murray, Federer in Dubai
Dubai: World number four Andy Murray wasted six match points and overcame a knee injury to beat Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5 in the Dubai Tennis Championships quarter-finals on Thursday, while Roger Federer also made it through to the last four.
"I had a problem with it (the knee) since Brisbane and it`s come and gone," Murray told reporters after a match played in searing desert heat.
"It was a bit sore right before the tournament. I didn`t feel it at all in the first couple of matches, and then right at the beginning of the second set I felt it.”
"It`s not something that stops me sort of running around. I want to try and get rid of it, because there are a lot of the big events coming up."
Murray, who went into the match with a 3-1 losing record to Berdych, appeared to be cruising at one set up and 2-0 ahead in the second, but he double-faulted to gift the Czech a break back for 2-2.
The Briton`s movement was increasingly laboured but his reply was immediate, breaking again, only for Berdych to do the same and level at 3-3.
The Czech was on top and looked as though he could square the match, but Murray dug in and broke once more, playing a forehand cross-court shot from wide of the tramlines that Berdych had no reply to for a 6-5 lead.
Murray, 24, wasted six match points on serve. The first three were backhands into the net and a fourth an errant forehand drive but he eventually triumphed when Berdych put a forehand long.
"In my whole career on the tour, I think I`ve only lost one match where I served for it, two maximum," said Murray.
"I played three great serves to bring it to 40-love and then missed a few first serves in a row and he went for some big shots," he added.
"Once you`re back at deuce you`re thinking, God, I`ve just blown three match points. So you kind of just want to try to get through it if you can. I went too defensive. I went too far behind the baseline and was letting him dictate points."
Murray`s solitary defeat in 2012 came in a five-set epic against Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open semi-finals and he will meet the Serb in the last-four in Dubai should the world number one overcome compatriot Janko Tipsarevic later on Thursday.
World number three Federer will play either Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro or France`s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Friday`s other semi-final after defeating Russia`s Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-4 as dusk set in.
Federer had won all their 11 previous meetings stretching back 12 years and Youzhny, 29, never looked like ending his losing streak after slumping to 3-1 down in the first set.
Federer, 30, saw out the first set with a fierce serve the ailing Youzhny could only club long.
The Russian, who has dropped to 34th in the world from a career-high eighth, played another poor forehand to lose his serve on the opening game of the second set, effectively ending the contest as Federer - a 16-times grand slam winner - served out.
The Swiss has yet to drop a set in the opening three rounds in Dubai.
"The surface speed is helping and I have a good focus this week," Federer said in a court-side interview.