• Shanghai Masters

Murray powers into Shanghai semi-finals

ESPN staff
October 14, 2011
Andy Murray is the defending champion in Shanghai © Getty Images

Andy Murray remains on course for a hat-trick of titles in the Far East after shrugging off the challenge of Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden to reach the Shanghai Masters semi-finals.

The British No. 1 is in red-hot form, having won 23 of his last 24 matches, and he is just two wins away from defending his title in China after a 6-3 6-2 victory over the world No. 124.

Ebden, only the second qualifier to reach the last eight of a Masters event this season, showed no signs of nerves as he matched Murray in the early stages, but the gulf in class began to show as the Scot streaked away to victory.

Chasing his fifth title of the year, Murray struggled to find an early breakthrough against the 23-year-old, squandering four break points and slamming his racket on the floor after two lengthy baseline rallies went the way of the Australian.

But the second seed eventually found a breakthrough in the seventh game, a huge forehand passing shot clinching the break, and with Ebden's resistance broken, Murray wrapped up the opening set with a second successive break.

After a promising start, Ebden had no answer to Murray's superior shotmaking as the Scot racked up seven games on the bounce to tighten his grip on the match. Ebden stopped the rot with a service hold at 3-1, and although he threatened to mount a comeback with a break point opportunity at 4-2, it merely delayed the inevitable as the British No. 1 strolled to victory in an hour and 24 minutes.

"I knew a fair amount about him, but I felt so nervous today, "Murray admitted. "I have been playing really well but it was just one of those days and I felt quite tense on the court and didn't open up like I have been doing, a few times when I did I hit quite a few winners. Especially at the start of the match I was creating so many chances just not going for it as much as I needed to."

Next up for Murray is Japanese No. 1 Kei Nishikori, who reached his first Masters semi-final with 6-4 6-3 win over Alexandr Dolgopolov.

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