ATP World Tour Finals 2014: Andy Murray faces David Ferrer with 02 spot at stake

A place at next month's Finals in London could effectively be at stake between the pair

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Andy Murray survived a test of his credentials to see off Kevin Anderson in three sets on Friday and secure a place in the semi-finals of the Valencia Open. Murray will play David Ferrer in the last four on Saturday and with just next week’s Paris Masters to come, a place at next month’s ATP Tour Finals in London could effectively be at stake between the pair.

Murray, the world No 10, chasing his second title in the Spanish city, had had few problems in earlier wins over Jürgen Melzer and Fabio Fognini but found seventh seed Anderson a different prospect. He lost the opening set to the 6ft 8in South African on a tie-break but fought back to claim a 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory in two hours and 43 minutes.

The slog may yet take its toll on third seed Murray, but his progress to the semi-finals bodes well for his hopes of qualifying for the O2 showdown for the seventh year in a row. Ferrer, the Spanish top seed, had an easier ticket to the last four, beating Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 6-1, 6-2.

Serena Williams secured a place in the last four of the WTA Finals in Singapore on Friday and clinched the year-end No 1 ranking for the fourth time in her career thanks to her rivals’ failings.

The American was not involved in the final group matches but still emerged as the big winner after Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic bowed out of the tournament despite both winning.

Sharapova had to beat Agnieska Radwanska in straight sets to reach the semis but blew her chance in a second-set meltdown. She squandered three match points and a 5-2 lead to lose the set in a tie break. Although the Russian recovered to win the match  7-5, 6-7,6-2, she failed to make it out of the round-robin stage of the eight-woman event.

Ivanovic needed to beat Simona Halep in straight sets but had to settle for a 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 consolation victory. Williams will play Caroline Wozniacki in the semis, while Radwanska faces Halep.