KEY BISCAYNE (AP) — Andy Murray chased a sharply angled shot into the corner in vain and kept running, disappearing through a tunnel in the corner of the stadium.READ MORE: Former President Trump Targets McConnell, Pence During Speech To GOP Donors
He quickly returned to finish his job in the Miami Open semifinals, sending Tomas Berdych to the exit. Murray lost his first service game in each set Friday but recovered and moved closer to his third Key Biscayne title by beating Berdych 6-4, 6-4.
Murray won the championship in 2009 and 2013, and was the runner-up in 2012. The Scotsman has a home in nearby Miami and practices on the Key Biscayne courts.
“I’ve obviously played some good tennis here over the years,” Murray said. “The reason for that is because I’m extremely familiar with the conditions, with the surface, the way the court plays.”
Murray’s opponent Sunday will be the winner of the semifinal Friday night between four-time champion Novak Djokovic and American John Isner.
Aside from his two shaky service games, the No. 3-seeded Murray played almost flawless tennis against No. 8 Berdych, extending points with scrambling defense until the Czech would finally make a mistake.READ MORE: ‘Work Gyms’ Helping Remote Employees Be More Productive
Murray, by contrast, totaled only eight unforced errors from the baseline. He improvised, too, winning points with unorthodox strokes requiring compound adjectives, such as a running shoetop-scoop lob and an underhand-swipe backhand drop shot.
Murray fell behind love-30 serving in the final game but rallied and smacked winners on the final four points, including a nifty forehand volley and cross-court backhand. When a final forehand gave him the win, he screamed in jubilation and repeatedly pumped his arm like a piston.
“I just played a bit better than him. That was the difference,” Murray said. “When I was behind in games, like the last game, for example, I came up with some big serves and was able to dictate a lot of the rallies from the baseline.”
The final is Murray’s first since he was runner-up to Djokovic at the Australian Open on Feb. 1, and his first in two years at an ATP Masters 1000 tournament. He’s 9-3 in Masters 1000 finals.
Murray improved to 6-6 against Berdych and has won their past two matches.
“Andy changed the game plan a bit,” Berdych said. “He started to play much more aggressive in the last two matches that he played me. Now I know what to expect and I’ll just be more ready for it.”MORE NEWS: South Miami Children's Clinic Holds 'Second Dose' Event Focused On Communities In Need
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