Andy Murray secured his place in the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals here after coming through a tough encounter with Ivan Ljubicic 7-5 7-6 (8-6). Murray overcame the 74th-ranked Ljubicic in a little over two hours and will now meet the winner of the Roger Federer-Fernando Verdasco quarter-final.
The Scotsman broke the 30-year-old in the opening game and raced into a 2-0 lead. But Ljubicic began to show glimpses of the talent that had taken him to a career high of world number three, twice missing the chance to break back in the fourth before finally managing it in the sixth.
Ljubicic followed up by winning the next game and served his first ace in his next service game to take the score to 5-4. But Murray replied with some unreturnable deliveries to level at 5-5 and Ljubicic crumbled in the 11th before the Scot held serve to take the set 7-5.
The second set went with serve before coming to life in the ninth game. Ljubicic, serving at deuce, was unhappy when Murray called a shot in and saw the Hawk-Eye replay support his claim. The deflated Ljubicic subsequently lost the game and Murray was left to serve for the match at 5-4.
But the Croat broke back and the set went into a tie-break. Murray had to work hard, but he finally prevailed 8-6 for a 7-5, 7-6 victory overall. He was pleased with his performance. "I thought I did well," he said. "At the end of each set, I started to make more returns. I bounced back well each time I got broken, so I was happy with that."