Murray, Haas, Ferrer gain at Indian Wells; Li in semis

Updated: March 15, 2007, 1:46 AM ET
Associated Press

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Andy Murray added to his strong start this season with a 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory over Nikolay Davydenko in Wednesday's fourth round of the Pacific Life Open.

Later on Wednesday, Tommy Haas extended his match record this year to 20-3, the most wins on the tour, with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Fernando Gonzalez. Haas had lost both his previous matches against Gonzalez, including a defeat in the Australian Open semifinals in January.

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Murray has won 18 of 21 matches in 2007, including successfully defending his title at San Jose.

On another 90-plus degree day at Indian Wells, No. 14 Murray had 10 aces, with his serve topping out at 136 mph, against his fourth-ranked foe from Russia. "I served great," said Murray, a 19-year-old from Scotland. "I think it was about playing the big points better than the guy who's No. 4 in the world.

"It's about me playing a really good match and managing to come through."

Murray is continuing his steady climb the rankings, jumping from No. 514 in 2004 to 65th in 2005 to 17th last season. His victory over Davydenko was his second in four meetings, the first coming in the semifinals at Doha in January.

David Ferrer of Spain defeated countryman Carlos Moya 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 in another fourth-round match.

In a night match, Daniela Hantuchova defeated Shahar Peer 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(5) in a 2 hour, 43-minute duel to move into the women's semifinals. Earlier, Li Na downed Vera Zvonareva 6-4, 7-5 in their quarterfinal.

No. 17 Li, China's best player ever, had defeated No. 9 Jelena Jankovic in straight sets a day earlier, and had her game going again against Zvonareva, keeping the Russian on the run with her accurate ground strokes.

Li bounced back to wrap up the victory after she was down set point twice in the 10th game of the second set.

The previous afternoon, No. 20 Zvonareva had knocked defending champion Maria Sharapova out of the tournament with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-1 victory that also will cost Sharapova her No. 1 spot when the rankings come out on Monday. Justine Henin will replace the Russian teenager at the top.

The 25-year-old Li, the first Chinese player to break into top 30 in the rankings, also is the first from her country to win a tour singles title, at Guangzhou in 2004 as a qualifier ranked 145th.

She's still looking for her second tour victory, with a quarterfinals appearance at Wimbledon in 2006 among her other highlights.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press