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Page last updated at 05:44 GMT, Sunday, 3 August 2008 06:44 UK

Murray to face Djokovic in final

Andy Murray
Murray was in sensational returning form against Karlovic

Andy Murray reached his first Masters Series final with victory over Ivo Karlovic in Cincinnati on Saturday.

The British number one came through 6-4 6-4 to set up a meeting with Novak Djokovic at 2000 BST on Sunday.

Karlovic had beaten Roger Federer earlier in the week but went into the semi with an 0-2 record against Murray.

And the Scot, 21, looked confident throughout despite the searing heat, recovering after dropping serve early on to win in one hour 21 minutes.

The victory guaranteed that Murray will rise from number nine in the world to a career-high of six when the new rankings are released on Monday.

"I think it's great to get as high as that," said Murray.

"At the beginning of the year a lot of people were asking me if my new set-up (after splitting with coach Brad Gilbert) was going to work and questioning if it was the right thing for me to do.

I don't think there's a huge difference between a semi-final and a final, but to win it would be huge

Andy Murray
"I think my results showed that it took a little bit of time but that it's paying off, and I'm enjoying myself much more on court.

"I'm much calmer and obviously my results have got better and better as the year's gone on."

Karlovic had dropped serve just once in 50 games going into the match but Murray clearly enjoys Karlovic's pace and has few fears about the rest of his game, saying before the match that the Croatian "doesn't return so well".

The Briton might have had a shock, then, after earning a break point in game one only to see an ace scream past, before Karlovic made him pay with a break of his own in game two.

But Murray has proved in the past that he can break the Croatian's serve and he did so again, chasing down a volley to get back to 1-2.

The confidence was apparent as Murray hit a superb cross-court forehand pass followed by a sharp backhand volley on his way to breaking again for 4-3, and he drew gasps from the crowd with a stunning lob over his 6ft 10in opponent when serving out the set.

There was not much doubt who the better player was once the ball was in play and Karlovic's lifeline - his serve - looked less and less effective as Murray set about dismantling it.

Murray kept up the pressure as the second set began, forcing another seven break points in the opening game with some clever all-court play and deft lobs before clinching it on the eighth as Karlovic was forced to volley wide.

Just as the Briton appeared to be strolling to a very comfortable win, his concentration slipped and Karlovic got back on level terms.

But Murray was quickly back in the groove on the return of serve, grabbing his fourth break of the match to go 5-4 up before serving out to 15.

And Murray will face an altogether tougher challenge on Sunday if he is to win his first title at the elite Masters Series level, which stands just below the four Grand Slams.

"I don't think there's a huge difference between a semi-final and a final, but to win it would be huge," he said.

"I'm going to have to play against one of the best players in the world to win it. I feel like I'm playing well enough to do it."

see also
Cincinnati photos
03 Aug 08 |  Tennis
Murray confident ahead of final
03 Aug 08 |  Scotland
Federer overcomes Ginepri scare
29 Jul 08 |  Tennis

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