Andy Murray defeats Tomas Berdych to reach semi-finals in Dubai

 

Andy Murray ended a
three-match losing streak against Tomas Berdych to reach the semi-finals
at the Dubai Duty Free Championships for the first time.

It has not been a happy hunting ground for the world number four in the past but he made a flying start today and then survived a topsy-turvy second set to triumph 6-3 7-5.

Murray, who is likely to face world number one Novak Djokovic in the last four, had played two qualifiers in the first two rounds but this was a real test, with the 24-year-old's only previous victory against Berdych coming back in 2005.

The fast surface also appeared to be in the Czech's favour but he could not find his range in the early stages and Murray reeled off the first seven points.

Berdych saved two break points but not the third, and the British number one then found some big serves just when he needed them to save three break points and move 3-0 ahead.

Berdych had certainly settled down now and forced another break point with Murray serving for the set but the Scot again held firm to come through.

Murray had struggled to threaten on the Berdych serve after the early break but he made the perfect start to the second set by seizing on another break-point opportunity when a forehand proved too hot for his opponent.

But this time the third seed's advantage was short-lived as more Berdych pressure drew a double-fault out of Murray to level the score at 2-2.

Murray was soon back in front, taking advantage of a sloppy game from the fifth seed to move ahead again immediately, but then showed his frustration after an error-strewn game made it three breaks in a row.

Murray appeared to be struggling with pain in his right knee - he was born with a bipartite patella and has been troubled by it throughout his career - but he found himself serving for the match after yet another break in the 11th game.

Incredible scrambling from the world number four had pushed Berdych into another error, but after moving to 40-0 three poor backhands saw three match points go begging.

He then had to save a break point, with Berdych furious when Murray was awarded the point after a successful HawkEye challenge, before finally wrapping up victory on his seventh chance.

PA

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