x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Andy Murray and Roger Federer through in straight sets

Last four for Dubai Tennis Championships begins to take shape.

Andy Murray defeated Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5.
Andy Murray defeated Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5.

Andy Murray ended a three-match losing streak against Tomas Berdych to reach the semi-finals at the Dubai Tennis Championships for the first time.

It has not been a happy hunting ground for the world No 4 in the past but he made a flying start and then survived a topsy-turvy second set to triumph 6-3, 7-5.

Murray, who is likely to face world No 1 Novak Djokovic in the last four, had played two qualifiers in the first two rounds but this was a real test, with the 24-year-old's only previous victory against Berdych coming back in 2005.

Roger Federer kept on course for a record fifth title at the tournament when he reached the semi-finals in a repeat of the 2007 final against Mikhail Youzhny.

The Grand Slam record-holder from Switzerland beat the former world No 8 from Russia 6-3, 6-4 with his third successive display of calm confidence, elegant ground-stroking and great solidity on the bigger points.

It suggested that the extra competition Federer has had this year – having included Rotterdam and the Davis Cup in his schedule – has made him very match tight from the start of the week.

It was his 12th victory in 12 encounters against Youzhny, and one of his most comfortable, establishing a break in the fourth game of the first set, and the first game of the second, and consolidating the advantages right through.