Murray earns semis spot

2012-03-01 14:46
Andy Murray (File)

Dubai - Andy Murray, the first British male since the 1930's to reach three Grand Slam finals, earned a valuable revenge over Tomas Berdych as he reached the semi-finals of the Dubai Open for the first time on Thursday.

The third-seeded Scot won 6-3, 7-5 against the fifth-seeded Czech to whom he lost the last three times, making it his best sequence in four attempts at the lucrative Middle East tournament.

It also earned Murray a possible rematch with Novak Djokovic, the triple Grand Slam titleholder with whom he had a classic semi-final in last month's Australian Open.

Djokovic was due to play his fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic in the evening session.

The match ended in controversy as Berdych argued at length with the umpire over a Hawkeye decision when he had earned a point to break back for 6-6.

Murray's appeal to the computer replay showed that the line judge's call of fault had been wrong and that his unreturned serve had in fact been in.

But when the umpire awarded the point to Murray, Berdych claimed the rally should have been replayed.

The Czech argued that the line judge's call had interfered with his return of serve, but TV replays showed that the call came after Berdych had hit the ball, and that the umpire's decision was correct.

Murray went on to close the match out in that game, although he required six more rallies and seven match points altogether before doing it.

The Scot had controlled much of the first half of the match by denying Berdych as many opportunities as possible to wind up with fierce flat drives which are especially dangerous on Dubai's hot, fast hard surfaces.

Sometimes he took the ball earlier, nearer to the baseline, thus denying Berdych time, sometimes he used slice, and at others he went on to full out attack.

He mixed it all with characteristic containment, but towards the second half of the second set became noticeably more defensive.

"I managed to stay tough at the end," said Murray.

"But he played well and I was getting a bit nervous. I think I was doing (my game plan) well until I got up in the second set.

"Then I was getting away from the baseline too much," he said, referring to the fact that he had retreated to deep defensive positions which had allowed Berdych more time.

"I hope I play Novak again," he added, referring to their classic match in Australia. "But I'll be ready whoever it is."

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