x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Murray reaches last four

Briton Andy Murray claimed a place in the semi-finals of the Masters Cup with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over the Frenchman Gilles Simon.

SHANGHAI // Briton Andy Murray claimed a place in the semi-finals of the Masters Cup with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over the Frenchman Gilles Simon yesterday. The world No 4 fended off a mid-match fight-back from Simon to join Serb Novak Djokovic in the last four on his debut at the event.

"It's great," said Murray, who beat the American Andy Roddick in his opening game. "To beat a couple of top 10 players back-to-back is great. The Masters Cup is obviously a huge, huge competition for all the top players. I've got a chance of winning it now." Simon, who won his place at the event when injured world No 1 Rafael Nadal pulled out, beat Roger Federer in his first match and could still qualify from the group.

"It's difficult when you play this kind of player because he never misses a shot so to beat him you have to make a good shot every time and I didn't," said the world No 9, who converted just one of eight break points. Murray started confidently, grabbing two breaks after some long opening exchanges to lead 4-0. Simon, though, with a change in tactics shifted the balance of the match. "I was not playing too fast," said Simon. "I was playing slower. But then when I decided to accelerate, I just gave everything. In the four first games I was playing just like he wanted. I could not surprise him."

Breaking back for 4-2, he had two break points on Murray's next service game but fluffed his first chance and the Scot struck an ace to save the second and go 5-3 up. "Every time you play against a good player they're going to come back, they're going to start raising their level," said Murray, who served out to go a set up two games later. "He's confident just now. It's not like I was playing bad tennis."

The Frenchman was not beaten yet and had more break points in Murray's first service game of the second set but, once those were gone, so was Simon's chance. "The more I got him moving, the more I changed the pace of the ball, he started to make more mistakes," said Murray. * Reuters