<
>

Top-seeded Federer joins Murray in semifinals

9/30/2005 - Tennis

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Briton Andy Murray celebrated
his entry into the world's top 100 by beating U.S. Open
semifinalist Robby Ginepri 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the last four
of the Thailand Open on Friday.

The 18-year-old Scot, who started the year ranked 411,
defeated the American third seed to clinch the second best
result of his career, after his second round Wimbledon defeat of
15th-ranked Radek Stepanek.

Further good news for Murray was that second seed Lleyton
Hewitt, his likely semifinal opponent, withdrew with a leg
injury against Paradorn Srichaphan, handing the seventh-seeded
Thai a walkover.

"Winning against two top 50 players in a row is a pretty big
deal for me, and to get to my first semifinal is also great,"
said Murray.

Top seed Roger Federer eased past Gilles Muller of
Luxembourg 6-4, 6-3 and will meet Jarkko Nieminen in the
semifinals. The sixth-seeded Finn ended the run of Taiwan's
Yeu-Tzuoo Wang, winning 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.

Murray broke serve in the opening game of the match when
Ginepri double-faulted, combining fine returns and strong
serving to build a 3-1 lead.

The set was turned on its head when Murray suffered an
inexplicable lapse, losing 12 out of 13 points as Ginepri broke
back twice to take the first set.

Serve dominated the second set until the ninth game when
Murray broke, courtesy of a backhand pass down the line.

Gaining in confidence, Murray raised his game to new levels
in the decider, unleashing powerful forehands to keep Ginepri
under pressure.

The American cracked when he double-faulted to give the Scot
a 3-2 lead. His frustration boiled over and he received a
warning for racket abuse. Murray broke again to claim victory
and a place in his first ATP semifinal.

"Obviously Paradorn is playing in front of his home crowd
and he's a big star over here," said Murray. "It's going to be a
big match for me and I'm looking forward to it.

"I would like to get through to the final and play my first
ATP final against the best player in the world."

Federer needed patience but had little difficulty in
disposing of Muller, who recently sprung the biggest surprise of
the U.S. Open by bouncing Andy Roddick from the first round.

The top-ranked player in the world broke on his fifth break point in
the opening game and held further break points at 3-1 and 4-2,
although Muller often played his way out of trouble with a
blistering serve.

Federer had to wait for a further 54 minutes to earn his
second break of the match. Two consecutive double-faults at 5-3
led to Federer claiming a third break and the match.

"It was a dangerous match," said Federer. "Thank God I got
off to a good start and that calmed things down a little bit.

"I really tried after that, every service game I played, to
stay very focused and not give him too much of a chance. I don't
remember him having any break points so I was never under
pressure too much."

"Today was just solid and consistent, what was needed. No
real flashy play, and that's probably what I've got to do again
tomorrow."

Hewitt struggled in both his opening matches in Bangkok and
he saved four match points against Justin Gimelstob before
advancing to the quarterfinals.

"In my practice today I overstretched the inside left of my
groin which had been stiff from training and especially after
the match over Gimelstob last night," said Hewitt.