Murray in semis, Federer wins

Shanghai, November 12:

Roger Federer kept his hopes alive for a fifth Masters Cup title today by beating Radek Stepanek 7-6 (4), 6-3.

Federer still showed some of the rust that plagued his opening loss to Gilles Simon. His first-serve percentage was higher against Stepanek, but the shots still lacked some of their usual sting. Stepanek was playing in the place of Andy Roddick, who withdrew from the tournament earlier in the day with a sprained ankle after losing his opening match on Monday.

Earlier, Andy Murray of Britain reached the semi-finals of the season-ending tournament by beating Simon 6-4, 6-2 in the other Red Group match. Murray broke Simon twice in each set and fended off seven of the Frenchman’s eight break opportunities.

Both Murray and Simon were making their debuts at the tournament, but Murray looked like a veteran, winning the first four games. Simon won only four points in his first two service games.

The Frenchman did get one break back to pull within 4-3, but Murray fended off another break chance in his next and easily held to finish off the set. Simon held to open the second set, but Murray took the next five games. On match point, the Briton ripped a deep forehand approach shot that Simon couldn’t do anything with.