Sun, Oct 26, 2008 - Page 18 News List

Britain’s Murray battles past Tipsarevic

AFP , ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA

Defending champion Andy Murray, top seed of the US$1 million St Petersburg Open, battled into the semi-finals, beating Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia in straight sets on Friday.

The 21-year-old Scot, who is currently fourth in the ATP rankings, won 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 in 2 hours, 9 minutes to level his head-to-head record with Tipsarevic at 2-2.

“It was a tough win,” said Murray, who is already assured of a place in the season-ending Masters Cup in Shanghai. “I tried to keep myself concentrated, to play every ball up to the end and it worked.”

Murray, who is seeking his season’s fifth title here, started confidently, breaking early for a comfortable 3-0 lead. But the 24-year-old Serb broke back in the seventh game to level at 4-4.

In a tie-break that followed, Murray was slightly more accurate to clinch a one-set lead after 1 hour, 10 minutes on court.

In the second set, the rivals traded breaks early again, before Murray made the decisive break in the 11th game minutes before he won the set and the match.

In the semis Murray will face third seed and last year’s runner-up Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, who ousted Germany’s veteran Rainer Schuettler, 32, in straight sets 7-5, 6-2 to record his second win in as many meetings.

The opponents were trading breaks throughout the opening set, but the 24-year-old Spaniard acted with slightly more precision to gain a one-set lead in 53 minutes.

In the second set, Verdasco confirmed his dominance, producing two more breaks to win the set, the match in 1 hour, 27 minutes and a place in his season’s fifth semi-final.

In the other semi-final, Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan, who won the battle of qualifiers beating Germany’s Mischa Zverev 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) will face Victor Hanescu of Romania, who defeated Russia’s Michail Elgin 6-1, 6-4.

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