Miami: World number four Andy Murray booked his semi-final berth at the Miami Masters on Wednesday, rallying for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Austrian Dominic Thiem.
The third-seeded former champion will face eighth seed Tomas Berdych after the Czech dispatched Juan Monaco 6-3, 6-4 to extend his perfect record against the Argentine to 7-0. Murray, who won title at Crandon Park in 2009 and 2013, was initially stunned by the clean and powerful one-handed backhand of the 21-year-old Thiem, who has looked strong in Miami after coming into the tournament with a 3-5 record in 2015.
Andy Murray. Pic/ AFP
"I expected a tough match, he's beaten some very good players this week," said Murray, who needed one hour and 44 minutes to seal the win. "He's a very big hitter of the ball, a very strong guy and he moves extremely well. "When you let him dictate the points, he hits the ball as hard off each side as anyone. He made me do a lot of running."
Thiem, ranked 52nd in the world, now stands 1-7 against top-10 opponents. But he surprised Murray in the opening set, breaking for 3-1 on his way to winning the first frame. "I would've liked to have started the match a little bit better, but with his game style, if you're not, like, right on it from the beginning, he's an extremely tough, tough guy to play against," Murray said.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Murray launched his fight-back with a quick break for a 2-0 lead in the second. Thiem regained the break to narrow the gap to 4-3, but Murray broke him in the final game of the set -- Thiem saving one set point before putting a backhand wide on another. His confidence boosted, Murray ran away with the final set, taking his lead to 5-1 with a second break of Thiem before closing out the win with a service winner.
"Before this week I would have given a lot for the quarter-finals, but now of course in the first moment I'm a little bit disappointed, especially as I won the first set," Thiem said. "I played a good match. "But I will leave Miami positive for sure and with a good feeling for the claycourt season."
Berdych took 92 minutes to get past Monaco, producing a pair of love service games and a break in the final three games to capture the tight second set and seal the win. "It was a tough one today, it was very important to get an early lead," said the winner.
"He was playing fast and giving me pressure on every ball. "But I managed to find a way. It was not easy but I'm very happy to go through. My focus was to stay as close as possible with him and try to create opportunities. "When I had a chance I tried to take it." Berdych has won six of 11 encounters with Murray, but lost their last meeting, in the Australian Open semi-finals two months ago.
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