Andy Murray cruised into the final of the World Tennis Tournament here with a 6-1 6-2 win over Mario Ancic yesterday despite a worrying ankle injury which has forced him to pull out of next week's Marseille Open, a tournament he won last year.
The 21-year-old Scot broke the big-serving Croat in the second and sixth games, going on to win the first set in just 25 minutes. A demoralised Ancic, 24, lost his first service game of the second set with an unforced error and never recovered as Murray reached his 15th ATP final.
Murray will play either Rafael Nadal or Gaël Monfils in today's climax. "I served well and returned well," said Murray. "I expected Mario to hold more service games but I returned very well, and in the games where he held I made him work hard. It'sthe best I've played so far in the tournament and I feel like I'm getting used to the court speed."
On this form Murray will give either Nadal or Monfils a tough match, but his team and fans will be concerned about the injury to his right ankle, picked up after the quarter-final against Marc Gicquel, which appeared to cause him discomfort during his semi-final.
Nevertheless, a less than 100per cent Murray was too strongfor his friend Ancic, who has also suffered from a series of injuries which saw him drop from world No 9 in 2007 to No 135 last year.
The 6ft 5in Croat came into the match with a 3-1 record against his opponent but Murray has come on so much since his most recent defeat by Ancic, in Barcelona last year, and he came out of the blocks brilliantly in this encounter.
After winning his opening service game Murray broke in the second with a top-spin return which Ancic failed to pick up. Unforced errors kept Ancic in trouble and Murray had no problems serving out for the set. Ancic was broken again in hisfirst service game of the secondset and Murray closed the match out with ease.