Murray eases into Verdasco showdown in Dubai

Ross Houston
March 5, 2017

"I'll probably never play another one like that again. I'm very happy to do it here for the first time and it's been a good start to the year".

The power, angles, and crafty shot-making were so all-consuming in that tiebreaker that the players, as well as umpire Renaud Lichtenstein, neglected to realize there was meant to be a change of ends at 15-15, which took place at 16-16 instead.

"It was very rewarding to come through a match like that and obviously I'm very pleased to get through it", Murray said.

"It's a special match to win because of how it went".

Murray went on to take the 31-minute tiebreak 20-18, only the sixth one since 1991 to have a total point count so high. There have been no others with more points.

"I'm just, for that side, a little sad and disappointed, like, after the hard work that I did the whole week to be in the finals".

"I played a good match today", Murray said.

If the final set was something of a procession, the first two were notable for the quality of both players.

Murray then returned the favour by losing his second service game on the trot, giving Verdasco a 2-1 lead.

Despite the head-to-head statistics, Murray is wary of the threat posed by the world No 35 ahead of Saturday's match.

Murray will play Lucas Pouille of France in the semifinals.

Despite serving 47 percent through his first three service games, Murray managed to hold for the first time in the fifth game.

Monfils lost for the first time in four meetings against Verdasco, with the unseeded Spaniard taking charge from the start.

Pouille has won many big matches, including his win over Rafael Nadal at the US Open a year ago, but what he needs to show is better management of his weaker shot - the backhand. "He's one of the best defenders in the game".

Brilliant victor after brilliant victor came from the racket of Kohlschreiber, yet Murray did enough to keep himself in the match right up until the crucial second set tie break.

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