Murray eases into Shanghai semifinals

Murray eases into Shanghai semifinals

SHANGHAI - The Associated Press
Murray eases into Shanghai semifinals

Scottish tennis star Andy Murray closes in on his third title in as many weeks.

Andy Murray eased into the semifinals of the Shanghai Masters with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden on Friday.

The second-seeded Scot has won 23 of his last 24 matches since mid-August, with the only loss coming to Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the U.S. Open. He’s attempting to win his third title in as many weeks.

David Ferrer had a far tougher time in his quarterfinal match, needing two and a half hours to beat Andy Roddick 6-7 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (2).

Ferrer finished with 49 winners - twice as many as Roddick. Both players had 11 aces.

“I thought the second and third sets he played at an extremely high level and served pretty well,” Roddick said. “You know, you normally don’t count on him making a lot of first serves, hitting aces. I felt like today he did that and got himself out of trouble a couple of times.”

Ferrer has gone deep in Masters-level tournaments many times, but he’s yet to win one. With Nadal’s loss - and Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer both skipping the tournament - Ferrer’s chances for a breakthrough in Shanghai have improved considerably.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori also advanced with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Alexandr Dolgopolov, the 12th seed from Ukraine.

With his surprising run this week, which included a win over fourth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Nishikori will become the highest-ranked Japanese player in ATP tour history. Currently ranked 47th, he’s projected to rise to 32 with his quarterfinal win - beating Shuzo Matsuoka’s previous best ranking of 46.

The 21-year-old Nishikori, who is coached by former top-10 player Brad Gilbert, is having his best season on tour, reaching one final and four semifinals. He has won more matches this year (32) than in the previous four years combined.