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Page last updated at 21:24 GMT, Thursday, 25 November 2010

Murray beats Ferrer to reach ATP Finals last four

ATP World Tour Finals
Venue: O2 Arena, London Dates: 21-28 November
Coverage: One match each day live on BBC TV, streamed online & available through iPlayer; text commentary online and on mobiles for every singles match via BBC Sport website; every singles match live on 5live sports extra.

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Murray targets top three ranking

By Piers Newbery at the O2 Arena

Andy Murray made it through to the last four at the ATP World Tour Finals with relative ease as he recovered from his poor performance against Roger Federer on Tuesday to defeat Spain's David Ferrer.

The British number one avoided the very real danger of needing to rely on the number of games or sets he had won at the O2 this week with a 6-2 6-2 victory against seventh seed Ferrer.

A blistering run of seven successive games did the job for Murray as he took the opening set after a nervous start, and there were more dips in concentration before he sealed the win.

606: DEBATE

It was enough to see Murray finish runner-up in Group B behind Roger Federer, who earlier beat Robin Soderling to complete the round-robin stage with a 100% record, and the pair must now wait for the conclusion of Group A on Friday to discover their semi-final opponents.

There were 10 possible qualification scenarios at the start of the day but, in the event, it was all a lot more straightforward than 12 months ago when Murray made an agonising exit at the group stage.

Murray was in a similar position then but, after beating Fernando Verdasco in his final group game, looked on in horror as Juan Martin del Potro beat Roger Federer by the only score possible that would eliminate the Briton.

This year, the Scot had the advantage of playing the night match and so carried his destiny in his own hands, knowing that if he could win a set - or even eight games across two losing sets - he would be through to the last four.

For all that, Murray's wildly inconsistent form this week and his 1-3 record against Ferrer meant there was plenty of tension among the home contingent of the 17,500 spectators at the O2.

But Ferrer's three wins in their four previous meetings had come on clay and the dogged Spaniard had lost to both Federer and Soderling in straight sets earlier in the week, so eight games was surely not beyond the world number five.

Andy Murray
The full-blooded scream he let out on securing the set with a forehand winner dispelled any doubt that he knew exactly the situation

The early signs were not good for Murray, who began as he had left off against Federer by finding the net and everywhere but inside the lines, and a dreadful backhand into the bottom of the net handed over an immediate break in game two.

A supportive home crowd groaned as one but Murray was equally unimpressed and threw off the shackles in the next game, finally upping the pace with a fierce backhand followed up by a sharp volley and converting his third break point with another backhand arrowed down the line.

Getting back on even terms proved another test as Murray fell 0-30 behind and was lucky to see a Ferrer forehand fly just wide, but once back at 2-2 the Scot showed exactly what he can do.

A couple of Ferrer double-faults helped Murray break again for 3-2 and the Briton was at his very best to earn the double-break with some superb chasing and one beautiful drop shot.

Murray had said after losing to Federer that he would not be overly concerned with the many different qualification scenarios against Ferrer and would simply concentrate on winning the match, but the full-blooded scream he let out on securing the set with a forehand winner dispelled any doubt that he knew exactly the situation.

The only thing that could prevent Murray appearing in Saturday's semi now was a retirement but a swift victory was still there for the taking, and it said much about his recent troubles that the Briton failed to keep his foot on the accelerator.

An early break in the second set was given straight back with a desperate service game of four unforced errors, and after moving ahead again in game five he had to fight off another two break points in game six.

To win against someone as tough as David with that scoreline, I must have played well

Andy Murray

Murray ultimately had too much weight of shot and variety for Ferrer, who knew he was now playing out the last games of his year, and he achieved his objective after just an hour and nine minutes, but without completely dispelling the concerns over his form.

Asked about his attitude going into the match knowing he needed just a set, Murray admitted: "It does change your mindset a little bit. It's very easy to say you've just got to win the match but when you know what's at stake, you want to get off to a good start. It's just very different to anything we're used to normally.

"You know your opponent needs to get off to a good start to win or go through. He obviously started off a little bit better than me."

He added: "It was a good match tonight - I played well, returned well. To win against someone as tough as David with that scoreline, I must have played well.

"Last year was tough for me but this year I've won two matches against very good players. I'm glad I got through to the semis."



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see also
Murray v Ferrer as it happened
25 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Federer wins to reach ATP semis
25 Nov 10 |  Tennis
ATP Tour Finals photos
25 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Superb Nadal eases past Djokovic
24 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Berdych hits form to beat Roddick
24 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Solid Soderling sees off Ferrer
23 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Federer crushes lacklustre Murray
23 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Federer opens with Ferrer victory
21 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Murray downs Soderling in opener
21 Nov 10 |  Tennis
The contenders
18 Nov 10 |  Tennis


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