Andy Murray reaches Japan Open semi-finals

Defending champion Andy Murray battled to a three-set victory against Stanislas Wawrinka to reach the semi-finals of the Japan Open.

 

Murray, 25, beat his Swiss opponent 6-2 3-6 6-2 in two hours and one minute.

 

The Briton looked on course for an easy victory against the world number 16  after he effortlessly took the opener.

 

However, he then lost his first set of the week, but fought back to secure a meeting with Milos Raonic, who he beat on his way to the US Open title.

Murray, playing in his first tournament since his triumph at Flushing Meadows, had beaten Wawrinka in seven of their previous 10 encounters  and looked on course for another victory after he claimed a break of serve in the opening game of the match.

The top-seed’s cruise to the last four was halted in the second set as his opponent’s inspired use of his forehand from the baseline saw him square the contest.

Murray was in no mood to bow out of the competition to the man he last defeated on his way to Olympic gold at London 2012,however, and did not face a single break point in the final set.

“It was a difficult match,” Murray said. “I managed to get the break in the third but there are no easy games against Stan.

“We’ve had lots of tough matches. It was the same again today.”

He will now play big-serving Canadian Raonic in the last-four after the sixth-seed’s 24 aces helped him edge a close contest against Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 7-6 (9-7).

“I didn’t necessarily serve my best, but I was playing really well from the baseline,” said Raonic.

“I’m happy to get through it. I did quite a few things well. I’m happy I played well on the big points.”

In the other half of the draw, the Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych faces local favourite Kei Nishikori, while Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus will play Russian qualifier Dmitry Tursunov.