- ATP Tour
Murray made to work in Miami
Andy Murray reached the semi-finals of the Sony Open in Miami after emerging unscathed in straight sets against Marin Cilic.
The Scot, who finished runner-up to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic 12 months ago, struggled in the early stages of the match on his serve but made his experience count by clinching crucial points at key moments in the game, and despite a wobble to get over the finishing line eventually overcame the Croatian 6-4 6-3.
The 25-year-old is now only two wins away from overtaking Roger Federer and moving up to second in the world rankings.
"I think [this] was probably the best match for me," Murray said. "It was a tough, tough match. The second set especially was a lot of long, long games and tough points. I just managed to come through that.
"Obviously, it took a while to get to the finish line, but I thought I played a solid match; not too many errors and I was tough in the important moments."
The US Open champion appeared to have the measure of his opponent in the opening exchanges, carving out four break point opportunities. However, Cilic resisted and was able to move in front, securing the break for himself and going 2-0 in front.
Murray got the break back immediately but was struggling to find his rhythm on his serve, enabling Cilic to seal yet another break. A wild forehand from Cilic handed Murray the fifth game to make it four consecutive breaks of serve, and then the play settled with the following couple of games being shared.
The champion here in 2009 then went in front for the first time as after a lengthy rally Murray clinched the opening set, breaking at 5-4 and holding an important service game to fend off the Cilic challenge.
The unforced errors were turning into the story of the match as Cilic started falling apart at the beginning of the second set. Murray capitalised on them and won three of the first four games - including a long fourth game that lasted for nearly 15 minutes.
Cilic had nothing to offer as Murray was getting close to the finishing line, but the Croatian came up with one last effort to save the contest. He saved one match point to only trail 5-3 and then brilliantly battled when facing five more match points. At the seventh attempt Murray finally completed the victory to make it his eighth win in nine meetings over Cilic.
Murray will now face Richard Gasquet in the semi-finals, after the tenth seed overcame Tomas Berdych in the day's evening contest.
Gasquet, who improved to five wins in eight career meetings with Berdych, was the more clinical player throughout - hitting 17 winners as the Czech struggled with 10 errors in a 6-3 6-3 loss.
With the contest lasting just 74 minutes, Gasquet should be rested for his meeting with Murray
"I'm really happy with the way I played," said Gasquet. "It was a good match for me. And I think I was solid mentally. I was playing very good. It's an important match for me."
On Murray, he added: "He's an unbelievable player, but I know his game. I think we played a lot of times already in the past, but for sure he will be the favourite. I have nothing to lose and I will try to play a good match."