Sat, Oct 15, 2011 - Page 19 News List

Murray reaches semi-finals with 13th straight win

AFP, SHANGHAI

Andy Murray of Britain returns a shot before defeating Matthew Ebden of Australia during their quarter-final match in the Shanghai Rolex Masters tournament at the Qizhong Tennis Center in Shanghai, China, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Red-hot Andy Murray cruised into the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters yesterday, notching his 13th straight victory as David Ferrer battled back from a set down to beat Andy Roddick.

Defending champion Murray, who cantered to a 6-3, 6-2 victory, looked in the groove early on against qualifier Matthew Ebden, putting early pressure on the 124th-ranked Australian’s serve and forcing two breaks in the first set.

The Scottish second seed, seeking his third straight title on the ATP tour, broke early in the second set and sealed the match with a second break after a fierce forehand.

Earlier, third seed Ferrer recovered from losing the first set to beat 10th seed Roddick 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 7-6 (7/2).

After a first set that went with serve, Roddick drew first blood when he clinched the tiebreak, but the Spaniard hit back strongly in the second set to break the big-serving American twice.

Roddick was match point down in the 10th game of the third set, but kept his nerve to level at 5-5 and force a tiebreak. Ferrer secured two crucial mini-breaks and sealed the win after more than two-and-a-half hours.

Ferrer, who hit 11 aces in the match and 49 winners compared with 37 unforced errors, was not broken once by his US opponent throughout the match.

“I feel confident. This is very important because some moments I didn’t play really well. This tournament, you know, in important moments I served really well,” the Spaniard said.

Kei Nishikori, playing in his first Masters quarter-final, looked in control throughout his 6-4, 6-3 win over Ukrainian 12th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov.

The 21-year-old Japanese broke once in the first set and three times in the second, withstanding nine aces in total from the racket of Dolgopolov and saving six of seven break points.

Nishikori said it was special to reach his first Masters semi-final in Asia, adding: “I feel like home here. It means a lot to play semis here ... I’m really excited now.”

“I think I started well today. I knew he was going to hit a lot of slice and I had to be careful. I was trying not to go for too much, just trying to be steady on the court and that worked,” he added.

Nishikori, who shocked fourth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga earlier this week, was already set to become the highest-ranked Japanese male player ever, having previously equaled the retired Shuzo Matsuoka’s record ranking of 46th.

However, winning a place in the semi-finals against Murray means Nishikori, currently ranked 47th, will now rise to about No. 32 in the world.

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