Federer sparkles in Verdasco defeat, meets Murray nextMarch 20th, 2009 - 1:25 pm ICT by IANS
Indian Wells (California), March 20 (DPA) Roger Federer powered past dangerous Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) to set up a high-profile semi-final with Andy Murray at the Indian Wells Masters.
The Swiss second seed on Thursday kept his record against Verdasco an unblemished 3-0 after beating the Australian Open semi-finalist twice on clay. But the challenger saved three match points before Federer prevailed in 91 minutes.
Federer has a score to settle with Murray, who has beaten him three times on the ATP since losing the US Open final six months ago to the world number 2.
For his part, Murray snuffed out the candles on the 30th birthday celebrations of Ivan Ljubicic by beating the Croatian 7-5, 7-6 (8-6) in their quarter-final in just over two hours.
“It was very breezy on the court,” the fourth seed said. “From one of the ends, it was difficult to dictate the points, but I felt fine. Physically, I was moving well again, hitting the ball better as the match went on.”
Federer came out crisply against Verdasco, breaking the Spaniard twice in the opening set. In the second, he saved four break points in the third game, then broke for 3-1.
He dropped serve in the eighth game and exchanged breaks with his opponent before taking it into a tiebreaker, which he claimed to go safely through.
The 13-time Grand Slam champion notched his 13th win of a season in which he is still chasing his first title.
“I played well for a set and a half, but Fernando suddenly realised what a good player he is and made it tough on me. I didn’t deserve that second set, but I’ll take it. I’m glad to be through in two.
“Murray is a tough match-up. With these upcoming players, you have to figure them out first, and he’s gotten me a few times.”
Murray, who leads the series with Federer 5-2, is pleased to get his second crack this season at the Swiss. “We know each others’ games pretty well,” he said. “Obviously, if I want to beat him, I need to play one of my best matches.
“It’s important to serve solid and make a lot of balls and not feel like you have to do anything special on each point.”
Lujbicic had saved five match points Wednesday in his win over Russian Igor Andreev.
“I felt like I was playing great tennis,” the veteran said. “I think I did today. Maybe my serve wasn’t at the top of my game, but still, it was a great match.
“Tomorrow, it’s a new day. I’ll practise and get ready for Miami. That’s a new chance.”
Women’s defending champion Ana Ivanovic secured free passage into the semis when opponent Sybille Bammer withdrew with a left shoulder injury.
The walkover puts the Serb into a semi-final against breakthrough Russian teenager Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who knocked out Polish seventh seed Agnieszwa Radwanska 7-6 (10-8), 6-4.
“I’m very disappointed that I am not able to play,” said Austrian Bammer, who added: “I hope that the injury heals quickly and that I am able to return to action soon.”
Pavlyuchenkova, ranked 42nd, was playing in her third quarter-final of the season after Sydney and Paris and has never advanced this far at the WTA level.
“It’s really a big achievement for me this week,” she said. “I beat some really good players.
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