Thailand Open: Federer to play Murray

Andy Murray's will play world number one Roger Federer in the final of the Thailand Open.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:49 IST
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Andy Murray's successful run continued on Saturday when he ousted home favourite Paradorn Srichaphan to reach a meeting with world number one Roger Federer in the final of the Thailand Open. The Briton won 6-7 7-5 6-2. Federer kept on track for his 11th title of the season when he defeated Finland's Jarkko Nieminen 6-3 6-4 in the first of Saturday's semi-finals. It was Federer's 30th consecutive victory, moving him into a tie with Jimmy Connors for the ninth longest match-winning streak in the Open Era. With 76 wins this year and just three defeats, the Swiss world number one is close to surpassing his personal best record of 78 wins in a season, set in 2003. Murray has often been criticised for his lack of conditioning but this time it was Srichaphan who faded and he received a leg massage for cramp when down 3-2 in the final set. Murray smelt blood and broke in the next game with a forehand volley as the seventh-seeded Thai struggled to move in the rallies. Murray held serve easily to lead 5-2 and closed out the match with a brilliantly executed double-handed backhand winner down the line. Srichaphan was encouraged by a noisy crowd of 8,400 who were urged on by two eccentric male cheerleaders dressed in ancient Thai costume, one with a pantomime horse. Federer produced another supremely polished performance, after he had banished a few forehand errors early in the match. One of those allowed Nieminen to break in the opening game, but Federer swiftly recovered and levelled at 1-1 by hitting a lob on break point. Using his greater pace and depth, Federer kept the Finnish left-hander under constant pressure, and some strong returns forced errors from the sixth seed and allowed Federer to break to love and lead 4-2. The second set was more closely contested as Nieminen made some good approaches, and Federer faced a break point when down 2-1 which he held off with a winning forehand. The deadlock was eventually broken at 3-3, after Federer held two break points. Nieminen served and volleyed his way to safety on the first, but put the ball wide after a fine rally on the second. (AP)