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Dublin: 4°C Friday 5 March 2021

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic remain on Qatar Open collision course

Both tennis stars are through to the semi-finals.

Image: Adam Davy

ANDY MURRAY AND Novak Djokovic remain set for their first major meeting of the season after both won through to the Qatar Open semi-finals on Thursday.

In blustery, chilly conditions, world number one Murray overcame the stiffest test, beating Spain’s Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 in a hard-fought contest, to secure a 27th consecutive victory.

Djokovic, the world number two, eased through to the last four, beating evergreen veteran Radek Stepanek in a far more straightforward match, 6-3, 6-3.

The best two players in the world are now favourites to clash in Saturday’s final, but it is by no means certain and this was the second time this week Murray was stretched, following a tough victory in the last round against Austria’s Gerald Melzer.

On Thursday, Murray made 18 unforced errors before finally triumphing against the world number 44 from Spain.

He lost his first service game of the match and was visibly irritated about the quality of his tennis on a number of occasions.

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Murray broke back in the eighth game of the opening set before securing it on a tie-break.

But his troubles were far from over.

Increasingly agitated and error-prone on court, he made the decisive break of serve in the 11th game of the second set after first squandering three break points.

But serving for the match he first had to save two break points, which summed up the Scotsman’s evening.

“Very tough match, very close both sets,” said Murray who has won 55 sets to just six dropped in his winning run on the ATP Tour.

– © AFP 2017

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