Rotterdam - Andy Murray has saved five break points to hold off determined Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-3, 7-5 on Thursday and reach the semi-finals of the ATP Rotterdam World Tennis event.
The Scottish top seed and 2009 champion will meet in Friday's final four eighth seed Gilles Simon after the Frenchman needed just 67 minutes for a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Jeremy Chardy.
Murray stands an overwhelming 12-1 in the series with number 19 Simon.
Murray battled for one and three-quarter hours against the 59th-ranked Pospisil to defeat the Canadian for a second time.
The second set was filled with momentum shifts, with ATP number four Murray saving a set point which would have taken the contest into a third.
Murray finally prevailed with a break of his opponent for 6-5 in the final set, earning the win in the next game when Pospisil's return was ruled wide.
"It was a tough match physically and mentally," said Murray, who lost the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic less than a fortnight ago.
"Vasek is a good athlete and gets to a lot of balls. Thanks to this slow court, I was able to move him around at the end and control the points.
"We had some long games and tough points, it was difficult."
Murray is wary of playing Simon, whom he last beat in Acapulco in 2014.
"Gilles is a great mover and retriever. He's got excellent timing, so of course I'm expecting a difficult challenge."
Third-seeded holder Tomas Berdych reached the last eight at the Ahoy Stadium with a defeat of Italian Andreas Seppi 6-0, 3-6, 6-3.
Berdych swept the opening set before being made to work in the second as Seppi levelled.
The Czech finally prevailed thanks to a break midway through the final set, running out the winner on his first match point.
"Andreas played very well in the second set. For me it was about trying to play like I had in the first set," said Berdych. "I was still able to finally win in the end."
Canadian second seed Milos Raonic and number four Stan Wawrinka were bidding to join Murray and Berdych in the quarters.
Raonic was facing Italian Simone Bolelli while Wawrinka was taking on Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, whom he beat last month in Melbourne.
Simon improved to 3-0 over Chardy after beating his compatriot at Roland Garros in 2011 and the Madrid Masters in 2013.
Simon, holder of 11 career titles, finished his modest effort with nine winners and broke Chardy twice in the second set. The winner never faced a break point.
Simon finished off with a backhand pass to set up a match point, then fired a duplicate shot down the line a point later to claim his fifth win of the season.
The two-time semi-finalist is competing in Rotterdam for the seventh time and won his 10th match at the event.
Results on the fourth day of the ATP Rotterdam World Tennis Tournament on Thursday (x denotes seeded player):
Gilles Simon (FRA x8) bt Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-4, 6-3
Tomas Berdych (CZE x3) bt Andreas Seppi (ITA) 6-0, 3-6, 6-3
Andy Murray (GBR x1) bt Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 6-3, 7-5