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Page last updated at 02:10 GMT, Friday, 3 April 2009 03:10 UK

Murray marches on but Nadal loses

Anmdy Murray
Murray now holds a 6-1 advantage over Verdasco

Andy Murray reached the semi-finals of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami with a 6-1 6-2 victory over his Australian Open conqueror Fernando Verdasco.

The Scot, 21, broke the Spaniard three times in the first set and twice in the second to win in just 75 minutes.

World number four Murray now faces Juan Martin del Potro in the last four after he recorded a shock three-set victory over world number one Rafael Nadal.

Del Potro came from 3-0 down in the final set to win 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-3).

Murray had lost in five sets to Verdasco in the fourth round of the Australian Open in January but this quarter-final was a different game altogether.

The Scot wasted little time in taking control of the first set, racing into a 4-0 lead after just 15 minutes with two breaks of serve.

Verdasco did break to love in the next game, but Murray hit back immediately as the Spaniard made mistakes when going for his shots.

Murray served out the set with Verdasco taking a three-minute medical break at the change to allow the trainer to treat a hamstring complaint.

But the time-out did not help the 25-year-old get back into his stride and when he returned he again lost his opening two service games as Murray cruised into the last four.

"I was expecting it to be a difficult match," said Murray. "He has been playing very well over the last few months.

"But I started very well, his head went down a little bit, and I managed to stay on top pretty much the whole way through."

And Murray says Del Potro will provide a stiff test when the pair meet on Friday.

"He lost to Nadal a few times in a row and to beat him in a big match is going to give him a lot of confidence," added Murray.

"Juan Martin has a very solid baseline game for someone his height. He moves well and he likes to dictate from the back of the court.

"It will be up to me to try and bring him to the net a little bit because he is not as comfortable when he is on the run."

I think I played really bad all the time

Rafael Nadal

Murray would have been expecting to meet Nadal but the world number one lost an error-strewn quarter-final against Del Potro, who has reached the last four of a Masters Series event for the first time.

After dropping the first set, Nadal dug in to win the second despite a high error count.

Nadal looked to be taking charge of the match when he claimed a double break in the decider to go 3-0 ahead, but the Spaniard never looked comfortable and meekly dropped the next four games.

Del Potro was not displaying his best form either and nervously passed up three match points at 6-5.

Nadal held to take the match to a deciding tie-breaker where he went 3-2 ahead but Del Potro, with the help of a couple of cross-court backhands, reeled off five straight points to clinch the match.

"Maybe it was wonderful for the crowd but it was terrible for me," said Nadal.

"I think I played really bad all the time. That's the truth of this match. Later when I was 3-0 up in the third I played worse."

Roger Federer will meet Novak Djokovic in Friday's first semi-final at 1800 BST, with Murray taking on Del Potro at 0000 BST.

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see also
Miami photos
30 Mar 09 |  Tennis
Murray reaches last 16 in Miami
31 Mar 09 |  Tennis
Murray battles through in Miami
28 Mar 09 |  Tennis

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