Murray into Masters tennis semis, Federer bid aliv
SHANGHAI: Britain''s Andy Murray moved into the Masters Cup semi-finals on Wednesday while Roger Federer kept his title defence alive against Radek Stepanek, a late replacement for the injured Andy Roddick. Murray overcame some dogged resistance from Gilles Simon to follow Novak Djokovic into the last four 6-4, 6-2 before Federer was also made to work for his 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 win. Roddick became a last-minute withdrawal after rolling his right ankle, joining world number one Rafael Nadal (tendinitis) on the sidelines and renewing concerns about the rigorous tennis schedule. Federer is also carrying a back injury which forced him out of the Paris Masters, and his cautious return to play ended in a shock defeat to Simon in his opening match. He started strongly on Wednesday as Stepanek double-faulted to be broken in the first game. But the Czech hit back before Federer took control of the tie-break, rounding it off with an unreachable forehand drop. The four-time champion looked to have it won when he broke for 5-3 but Stepanek swiped an unstoppable backhand pass on the slide to break back. However the recovery was brief as he double-faulted for the match in the next game. The Swiss now needs to beat Murray in his last match to qualify, while Stepanek cannot reach the last four. Murray, who celebrated reaching the semis on debut, said he would do his best to send Federer crashing out. "Ideally I''d like to knock him out of the competition if I can. I''d rather not have to play him twice in one week. He''s the best player ever," Murray said. Federer shrugged off the barb and paid tribute to the 21-year-old Briton. "He would be stupid saying something different," said the Swiss. "I''m looking forward to the match. Should be interesting. He''s a wonderful player and he''s had a great end to the season." Murray had beaten Simon at Hamburg and in the Madrid Masters final this year, and another victory quickly looked in sight as he raced to a 4-0 first-set lead.
Re: Murray into Masters tennis semis, Federer bid