Federer awaits as Murray cruises into semis

Andy Murray set up another meeting with Roger Federer by beating Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4 6-2 to reach the semi-finals of the Qatar Open in Doha this evening.

The pair have faced each other five times in the last year, with Murray winning four of those matches but losing the most high-profile one - the US Open final.

Murray, the defending champion in Doha, came out on top last week in the semi-finals of the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, a contest that was the latest in a series of close matches between the duo.

The winner of tomorrow's last-four clash will be a firm favourite to claim the title on Saturday following top seed Rafael Nadal's surprise defeat by Gael Monfils earlier today.

The first set against Stakhovsky was a close affair with the Ukrainian more than matching his opponent for touch and shot-making.

But once Murray had moved ahead it was largely one-way traffic, with the 21-year-old again dropping only six games for the third consecutive match.

Both players began with comfortable holds, Stakhovsky displaying a lovely touch on his drop shots in particular.

But the Ukrainian spoiled his promising start by gifting Murray a break in only the third game, double-faulting on break point.

The match was a repeat of the meeting that first announced Murray's huge promise to the world when he beat Stakhovsky in the final of the US Open juniors.

That was in 2004 and the Scot has certainly more than justified the hype since then in his rise to number four in the world.

But if he thought Stakhovsky would roll over he was very much mistaken, and the 23-year-old displayed some terrific attacking play to break straight back.

Stakhovsky, who won his first ATP Tour title in Zagreb last March, is currently ranked 91st, just below his best of 74th achieved last November.

The pair met again in the Davis Cup in 2006, with Murray again the victor, but Stakhovsky held his own well in the early stages, coming through a tight game to lead 3-2.

At 3-4 it was Murray's turn to be tested on serve, but this time it was the British number one who employed the drop shot to good effect to level again.

Failing to capitalise after taking Murray to deuce seemed to affect Stakhovsky and the underdog played his second poor game of the set to allow the Scot a second break.

This time there was no way back for Stakhovsky, Murray coming up with four good serves to recover from 0-30 and move a set in front.

It got better for the third seed in the first game of the second set as another break cemented his advantage.

By now Stakhovsky's belief was wavering and he could not prevent Murray taking a 3-0 lead.

The Ukrainian was still hitting some stunning shots, with a backhand on the run in the fourth game leaving Murray flat-footed, but the Scot's consistency was the key difference between the pair, and he moved into a 4-0 lead with a Pete Sampras-style 'slam-dunk' smash.

Stakhovsky knew the game was up and more errors, including another double fault on break point, moved Murray to within one game of victory.

Surprisingly, he failed to wrap up a love set as Stakhovsky at least got on the board with his second break of the match, and then saved a match point to make it 2-5.

It was simply delaying the inevitable, however, and Murray made no mistake on his second match point.

Sport
Mourinho lost his temper as well as the match
sportLiverpool handed title boost as Sunderland smash manager’s 77-game home league run
Voices
Sweet tweet: Victoria Beckham’s selfie, taken on her 40th birthday on Thursday
voices... and her career-long attack on the absurd criteria by which we define our 'betters', by Ellen E Jones
Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
VIDEO
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
Arts & Entertainment
Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has been working on the novels since the mid-Nineties
books
News
Easter a dangerous time for dogs
these are the new ones. Old ones are below them... news
News
Brand said he
people
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Sport
Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters
sport
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit