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Murray Clinches 300th Win, Thwarts Fish Final Bid

Cincinnati, U.S.A.

Murray© Getty ImagesAndy Murray was made to work hard to record his 300th tour-level win.

World No. 4 Andy Murray battled through hot conditions on Saturday in Cincinnati to defeat the in-form Mardy Fish and claim his 300th tour-level match win. The Scot edged the American 6-3, 7-6(8) in the Western & Southern Open semi-finals, and afterwards admitted there was room for improvement ahead of the US Open.

“I was struggling physically early on in the second set. That's frustrating for me, because that's something I haven't struggled with for quite a long time. I need to get that better before the US Open,” said Murray, who squandered a break advantage three times in the second set as Fish forced a tie-break. “I need to get stronger; I haven’t played many matches in the past few weeks and this was the first tough one. I maybe need another one hour and 40 minutes of endurance in me before the US Open.”

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World No. 7 Fish had won the pair’s past three meetings, including in the 2010 Cincinnati quarter-finals, but was thwarted in his bid to reach a fourth straight as he hit nearly double the amount of unforced errors as Murray (Murray – 18, Fish - 33).

The American, who has won the Olympus US Open Series after capturing the Atlanta title and reaching finals in Los Angeles and Montreal, was reprieved on Murray’s second match point at 7-8 in the tie-break when the Scot’s seeming winning return was judged to be out by Hawkeye. However, trailing 8-9 in the tie-break, Fish hit a forehand wide to surrender the match after two hours and 18 minutes.

"I've played great all week. I beat a lot of good players this week," said Fish. "I've just been trying to solidify my spot, trying to make guys think that I belong, and trying to convince myself I belong as well. It's been great. Semi-finals of a huge event like this is a good result for anyone. So it's been two great weeks. I'll take two, three, four days off and regroup and get away from the court and then get back mid next week."

"Mardy hadn’t been broken all tournament and I broke him three times in the second set. I served better in the tie-break. I’m glad I managed to pull through," said Murray afterwards.

The 24 year old is bidding for his seventh ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title - and second in Cincinnati after lifting the trophy in 2008 when he defeated Novak Djokovic. He will play the Serb in the final again, after Djokovic defeated Tomas Berdych in the second semi-final.

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Looking ahead to the clash with Djokovic, Murray said. "I'll need to play well to get it tomorrow, but it's a good test tomorrow to see exactly where my game is before the US Open, because he's the No. 1 in the world just now."

Murray has responded well from a surprise opening-round exit in Montreal (l. to Anderson) last week and is through to his third final of the season; he finished runner-up in his third Grand Slam final at the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic) and won his 17th ATP World Tour title at Queen’s (d. Tsonga).

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