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.

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests