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Murray To Face Djokovic in Blockbuster Semi-final

Dubai, UAE

Murray© Dubai Duty Free Tennis ChampionshipsAndy Murray is through to the Dubai semi-finals for the first time.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic withstood a late fightback from fellow Serbian Janko Tipsarevic to prevail 6-1, 7-6(6) on Thursday night and book his place in the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

The defending champion saved a set point down 5-6 in the second set tie-break, as the seventh-seeded Tipsarevic double-faulted, and from there won the final two points to wrap up victory in one hour and 36 minutes. He had broken serve twice to claim the first set, and avenged the defeat he suffered to Tipsarevic at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November.

"I thought I started really well," assessed Djokovic. "He was missing first serves, didn't have a high percentage. Then in the second set, whenever I had a break ball he served well. So he was very close to take that second set. Then who knows what could have happened. We both got a little bit nervous towards the end, I guess, and it was just luck to prevail."

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The 24-year-old Djokovic is chasing a record fourth consecutive title at the ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tennis tournament and improved to a 23-2 event record. The Belgrade native is, as yet, undefeated in 2012, having won his fifth Grand Slam singles championship at the Australian Open with victory over Rafael Nadal.

In the semi-finals, Djokovic will face World No. 4 Andy Murray, who snapped a three-match losing run against Tomas Berdych, beating with No. 7-ranked Czech 6-3, 7-5.

The Scot broke serve in the second game of the match to clinch the opening set in 42 minutes. He then squandered a break advantage twice in the second set, before breaking decisively in the 11th game. He claimed victory in one hour and 51 minutes on his seventh match point, having saved a break point in the final game. It was his first win over Berdych in seven years.

"Tactically I was doing the right things, and then maybe got away from that a little bit," reflected Murray. "But I just hung in at the end. I fought and scrambled and did what I had to do to win."

Murray and Djokovic last met in the semi-finals of the Australian Open, when the Serb prevailed in a five-set epic to improve to a 7-4 record against Murray.

"Every time you play, especially top four, it's a big challenge for both of us," said Djokovic. "Especially after that Australian Open thrilling match that lasted for five hours. It's going to be a good match. We both look forward to that. We always try to win against each other and it's a great rivalry."

The 24-year-old Murray is through to his third tour-level semi-final of the season and improved to a 13-1 mark. He won his 22nd ATP World Tour title at the Brisbane International (d. Dolgopolov) before reaching the last four at the Australian Open.

"Before the Indian Wells/Miami stretch it would be good to see exactly what I need to work on, where my game is," said Murray, looking ahead to the challenge of facing Djokovic. "I had a great match with him in Australia, and hopefully can reverse the result tomorrow."

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