Murray batters Fish but surprise defeat for Hewitt

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray beat Mardy Fish 6-2, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals of the Legg Mason Classic in Washington last night.

The eighth-seeded Scot, who is playing his first tournament under his new coach, Brad Gilbert, could now meet Tim Henman in today's semi-finals. Henman was due to play the Russian Dmitry Tursunov in the last eight in the early hours of today, British time.

Murray's encouraging victory over the No 12 seed would have been even more straightforward had he not faltered when serving for the match at 6-2, 5-2. The 19-year-old squandered a match point and was then broken for the first time in the match but made no mistake in his next service game.

Henman cruised to a straight-sets victory over Jan-Michael Gambill on Thursday night, taking just one hour and 13 minutes to wrap up a comprehensive 6-1, 6-3 victory.

The tone was set in the opening game with Henman breaking the American's serve. He maintained the momentum at the start of the second, crucially breaking for a 2-0 lead as Gambill's serve continued to let him down.

The third seed, Lleyton Hewitt, was last night beaten 7-6, 6-4 by the Frenchman Arnaud Clement, who now meets Marat Safin or Wesley Moodie in the other semi-final. Clement, the world No 57, had not beaten the Australian in their seven previous meetings.

"We've played a couple of tough matches but he was always a little better in the important moments," said the 28-year-old Frenchman. " Today was different."

Clement raced into a 4-1 lead in the first set before Hewitt rallied to take the next four games. Hewitt, however, failed to close out the set, losing his serve at 5-4. Clement refused to let former Hewett, a former world No 1, into the first-set tie-break, taking it 7-1.

In the second set, Clement broke Hewitt in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and was then able to serve out the match.

* The top seed, Kim Clijsters of Belgium, will face Martina Hingis in the quarter-finals of the Acura Classic in San Diego after the Swiss former world No 1 beat Italy's Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 3-6, 6-1. Clijsters had defeated Jelena Jankovic, of Serbia, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the third round on Thursday night. The second seed, Maria Sharapova,cruised past the Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-4, 6-4 and will now face the champion, Mary Pierce.