Andy Murray advanced to his first ATP final since his 2013 Wimbledon title. The 2-time Slam champion needed three sets to turn away Juan Monaco 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the semifinals at the new tournament in Shenzhen.
“He started the match well,” said Murray. “I was struggling a little bit with my timing. Obviously, the conditions were very hard today. But I feel good and I’m into my first final for a while. I’ll try tomorrow. Hopefully it’ll be a good match. Robredo’s been playing some good tennis this year, so it’ll be tough. I’m enjoying myself here and winning always helps.
“It’s been a tough year for me. The first few months coming back from surgery were hard, then I lost a bit of confidence. But I’ve felt better the past few months and hopefully I can have a strong end to the season.”
Murray will meet Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo who breezed past Santiago Giraldo 6-1, 6-4.
Against the 32-year-old Robredo, Murray leads 3-2 having won their last three meetings. Robredo is seeking his 13th career ATP title and just his second on hardcourts since 2007 Metz.
In Kuala Lumpur, US Open finalist Kei Nishikori strengthened his London qualifying bid by edging Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
“Today was a little bit tough because he was playing well in the second set,” said Nishikori who seeks a third title on the year. “Maybe I relaxed a little bit. I had a couple of unforced errors in the last game of the second set. I tried to concentrate again and focus in the first couple of games in the third set. Everything worked well after that and I finished well, so I’m very happy.
“The crowd is amazing. I feel like I’m playing in Japan. It’s always fun on the court with this crowd. I’m very happy to play in front of them.”
Nishikori has now won 10 of his last 11 matches.
Across the net from Nishikori will be Julien Benneteau. For a second straight year the hard-luck Frenchman will have a shot at his first career title (he’s 0-9 in ATP finals). Benneteau, who lost to Joao Sousa in the final a year ago, won his semifinal over Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 6-4.
“I play well here,” said Benneteau. “I like the conditions and this year I think it’s a little bit faster. I’m very excited and happy the way I’m playing. I’ve given myself another chance to win a title.”
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