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Murray Too Solid For Berdych

Dubai, UAE

Murray© Dubai Duty Free Tennis ChampionshipsAndy Murray is through to the Dubai semi-finals for the first time.

Andy Murray set up a potential Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships semi-final with world number one and defending Dubai champion Novak Djokovic when he defeated Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5 in a competitive centre court battle on Thursday.

Murray had lost his past three matches against the number five seed, including a marathon three-hour, 13-minute tussle in Paris late last year. And at one stage it looked as if their latest meeting might also become a lengthy contest.

Neither player managed to take command, although it was third-seeded Murray, who often gained an edge. He did so at the beginning, holding serve at love and then breaking for 2-0 when Berdych made a backhand error.

That was enough to earn him the opening set, although he had to fight off three break points to hold for 3-0 and another as he served for the set.

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Murray also held an advantage in the second set, breaking for 1-0 with a brilliant crosscourt forehand winner, but he then double-faulted to allow Berdych to level at 2-2.

The next two games also went against serve, and at 4-4 Murray held a break point that would have allowed him to serve for the match, but Berdych saved that threat with a service winner.

Murray eventually broke to lead 6-5 when Berdych netted a forehand, but then struggled to close out the match, saving a break point before clinching victory on his seventh match point.

Despite his difficulty in winning the final point, Murray wasn’t worried or frustrated.

"In my whole career on the tour, I don't know how many matches I've played, I think I've only lost one match where I served for it, two max," he said. "That's one thing I've always been very comfortable with, closing matches out."

"I thought tactically I did well for a set and a half. I created a lot of chances in the second set, but kind of gave them back to him. But I just hung in at the end. I fought and scrambled and did what I had to do to win."

Berdych was disappointed to lose such a close match, saying, "Well, actually it wasn't one of the good matches from me. I was struggling and was fighting so much on my serve, and that was actually the problem of all the match. With a player like Andy, it's tough."

"You have to serve well then to be winning at least easier your service games and then have some chance to make some more pressure on his serve, try to build only break points and some chances. I mean, there was definitely a place for improvement."

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, continues until 3rd March.

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