Murray reaches Valencia semi-finals

Andy Murray progressed to the semi-finals of the inaugural Valencia Open with a comfortable 6-4 6-2 victory over Albert Montanes.

The 22-year-old, who is the top seed for the event, was a little short of his best in the opening set but upped his level to easily see off the Spaniard.

Murray is guaranteed to play another home player next, with fourth seed Fernando Verdasco facing Tommy Robredo later today.

The Scot was pushed hard in his three-set win over Leonardo Mayer yesterday but he got off to the perfect start today with a break in the opening game when a Montanes backhand drifted wide.

This was the pair's third meeting, all of which have come in 2009, with Murray triumphing in Doha and Indian Wells.

He was struggling to find his range with his much-lauded double-handed backhand, though, and another error brought up a break point for Montanes in the sixth game.

And when a forehand from the top seed landed fractionally wide, the Spaniard had his break back, much to the delight of the Valencia crowd.

Montanes then held firm under pressure to win his third game in a row and take the lead in the match for the first time.

The Spaniard was not able to replicate that two games later, however, as Murray broke again thanks to a moment of real quality.

After a punishing rally, the 22-year-old executed a perfect backhand drop shot that left Montanes pinned to the baseline.

And this time Murray had no trouble holding onto his serve, wrapping up the set with an ace down the middle.

The British number one was clearly eager to avoid another lengthy match and he began the second set in purposeful style by setting up three break points.

Montanes, ranked 34th in the world, dug deep to get to deuce but Murray was not to be denied and he took advantage of his fourth chance with a backhand that proved too hot for his opponent.

Murray was now looking a class above Montanes, and the 28-year-old was broken for a second consecutive time as the world number four moved into a 4-0 lead.

The home hope stopped the rot in the fifth game and he created a break chance for himself with Murray serving for the match at 5-2 but some big serving and a pinpoint forehand sent the Scot into the late four.