Brisbane - Andy
Murray was back on his game Friday, with coach Ivan Lendl watching
closely as he beat Denis Istomin 6-4, 7-6 (3) to reach the Brisbane
reigning US Open champion had lapses in his opening three-set win over
No 199-ranked Australian qualifier John Millman the previous night,
while Lendl was en route to Australia, but had no serious trouble in his
second match of the year.
first of Murray's three titles in a breakthrough 2012 season was in
Brisbane, where he started working with former No 1-ranked Lendl last
January. The next two titles were career-defining triumphs at the London
Olympics and US Open.
He next plays fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan, a 6-4, 7-6 (3) winner over 2012 Brisbane finalist Alexandr Dolgopolov.
on Friday, 2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis ousted No 3
Gilles Simon of France 6-3, 6-4 to set up a semi-final against
21-year-old Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who beat seventh-seeded Austrian
Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-2.
night session, top-ranked Victoria Azarenka was playing No 3 Serena
Williams in a semifinal featuring the two dominant women on the tour in
2012. Williams has won 11 of their previous 12 meetings, including the
last US Open final.
didn't face a breakpoint in the second set, and only lost one point in
his first three service games of the set - a call he disputed but lost
on the challenge review.
held serve to force a tiebreaker and trailed Istomin 3-1 before winning
six straight points. Istomin served the only double-fault of the match
to surrender triple match point and Murray hit a forehand winner to
clinch it in little more than 1 1/2 hours.
dropped a set to Millman and appeared to be sore and fatigued at times
on Thursday night but there was no such issues in front of Lendl, who
has played a key role in ending the Scottish player's run of four
defeats in Grand Slam finals before he finally won a major.
lost four major finals before his claiming the first of his eight Grand