Murray books final clash with Roddick
Friday 09 January 2009
Andy Murray recorded another victory against Roger Federer to set up a final clash with Andy Roddick at the Qatar Open in Doha.
The British number one took his record against the former world number one to six wins from eight matches with a 6-7 (6/8) 6-2 6-2 victory.
He will now be favourite to beat Roddick, who overcame Rafael Nadal's conqueror Gael Monfils 7-6 (7/1) 3-6 6-3 in the other semi-final.
Murray, who needed treatment to his back early in the final set, recovered well after losing the first set and stayed on course for back-to-back Qatar Open victories.
The match was the sixth between the pair over the last 12 months, with Murray having won four of those clashes but not the one he really wanted - the US Open final.
There is no doubt Federer does not enjoy playing the Scot and a victory over him ahead of the Australian Open would have been very welcome.
Murray recovered from 0-30 in his first service game to hold and then forced deuce on the Federer serve but could not engineer a break point.
A lovely flicked backhand pass from Murray gave him a glimmer of hope in the seventh game as he took Federer to deuce for the second time.
This time he did force a break point but a strong serve from the 13-time grand slam champion snuffed out the chance.
Both players were starting to find the shots that have made their past meetings so entertaining, most recently in Abu Dhabi last week where Murray won a deciding tie-break.
And a tie-break was needed to settle a very tight first set in Doha.
Federer, who was making very few unforced errors, gained an early mini-break but he relinquished that advantage with a double fault to make it 4-4 and it was Murray who had the first set point.
But the second seed levelled with a terrific volley and two points later the set was his thanks to some ferocious groundstrokes.
Federer's focus has been evident this week and he had Murray on the back foot as he moved to 0-40 on the Scotsman's serve at 1-1, but the 21-year-old produced three superb first serves to get out of trouble.
It seemed only a matter of time before Federer pressed home his advantage but a sloppy game, including a fourth double fault, gifted Murray a surprise break of his own to make it 4-2.
The momentum had suddenly shifted and a second break for the Scot, who was showing all his invention, wrapped up the set.
The Scot took an injury time-out to receive treatment to his back after he appeared to jar it while serving for 2-1 in the decider.
If anything, the break disrupted Federer more and Murray took advantage of a second break point to move 3-1 ahead.
The third seed had targeted that wing from the off, and in the third set Federer appeared to have no answer, an apologetic smash dumped into the net sealing his fate.
Tomorrow's match will be the eighth meeting between Murray, who also reached the final in Doha in 2006, and Roddick with the Scot having won five of those contests, most recently at the Masters Cup last November.
Earlier, Roddick edged a topsy-turvy clash against Monfils, who appeared to be hampered by a back injury and could not repeat his brilliant performance in beating Nadal yesterday.
Roddick saved four break points in the third game but could not prevent his opponent making the breakthrough at 3-3.
Monfils' advantage was short-lived, however, as the fourth seed broke straight back and the set went to a tie-break.
A double fault from the Frenchman on the second point set the tone as Roddick raced into a 6-1 lead before taking the set at the first time of asking.
The Frenchman changed tactics in the second set, eschewing long baseline rallies by frequently using the drop shot to bring Roddick to the net.
And it worked well, Monfils breaking in the fourth game before comfortably wrapping up the set.
Roddick began to play the fifth seed at his own game in the decider and forged ahead with a break to make it 3-1.
But Monfils stuck to his plan and a series of superb passing shots earned him parity again.
Despite that setback, Roddick was clearly in the ascendancy by now and some fierce groundstrokes saw him break again for 5-3.
And this time there was no way back for the Frenchman as Roddick sealed victory in a match lasting more than two hours.
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