Miami: Third-seed Andy Murray recovered from an early setback to beat Austrian Dominic Thiem 3-6 6-4 6-1 on Wednesday to reach the semi-finals of the Miami Open where he will face Czech Tomas Berdych.
Eighth seed Berdych defeated Argentine Juan Monaco 6-3 6-4 in their quarter-final to set up a re-match of their tense and at times acrimonious Australian Open semi-final which Murray won in four sets.
Murray`s 501st career win was far from easy as the 21-year-old Thiem, ranked 52nd in the world, used an impressive backhand and some entertaining tennis to take the first set.
But after Murray, far from his best, forced a deciding set, he took firm control after earning a break at the end of a long fourth game to go up 3-1.
“At the beginning of the match I didn`t return well, especially returning his first serve. That put me in sort of a defensive position a lot when he was serving. I ended up doing quite a lot of running there,” said Murray.
“In the second set I went up and I was creating quite a lot of opportunities, which was good, but I was just not quite finding the right shot.
“I think in the third set the difference was really my returning. I returned his first serve extremely well. I put him on the back foot,” he said.
Thiem was philosophical about his loss.
“He won because he was the better player. It`s very simple. I played a very good first set of course but if I could keep at that level of the first set I wouldn`t be ranked 52nd I would be much higher.
“I played a little bit on my limit. Of course I am trying to work to make that my standard level.”
Monaco, backed by a large Argentine support, put up a strong fight in the second set until Berdych broke for a 5-4 lead.
“It was a very tough one, he played very fast and pushed me every ball. I am really happy I found a way through,” said the Czech.
Thursday`s other quarter-finals will see top seed Novak Djokovic up against Spain`s David Ferrer and Japan`s fourth-seeded Kei Nishikori against American John Isner.