Andy Murray upped his win streak to 27 Thursday after edging Nicolas Almagro 7-6(4), 7-5 in the quarterfinals at Doha.
On a windy day, Murray was broken in his first service game before recovering. The two traded early breaks in the second. Murray sealed the win breaking Almagro with the Spaniard serving 5-6.
“Tough, tough conditions for everyone today, Murray said. “It was obviously very windy and it was blowing kind of across the court a lot. That makes timing pretty difficult. So it was hard for everyone today. Cold as well so that the court is pretty dead. You’re not really getting much off the surface.
“He is also a shot-maker. He goes big. He takes chances. Yeah, made it tough for me. I could have maybe made it a bit easier on myself if I converted a few more break point chances, but got through it in the end.”
Murray, who won Doha in 2008 and 2009, advanced to face Tomas Berdych Saturday in the semifinals. The Czech bested Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 6-3.
“It’s great for me to get another match like that against a top player in the first week of the year,” Murray added.
Murray holds the 10-6 edge on Berdych winning their last six since 2013 Cincinnati.
In the other semifinal, defending champion Novak Djokovic will take on Fernando Verdasco. Djokovic routed Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-3 while Verdasco ousted Ivo Karlovic 6-2, 7-5.
Djokovic leads 8-4 against the Spaniard winning most recently in Doha a year ago.
“I saw him play against Goffin a bit more, and he played really solid, really impressive tennis, better than — he’s been playing better than last year when we encountered each other in the second round,” Djokovic said. “He’s a very complete player. He’s got weapons from forehand side; big serve; very strong.”
“If he’s feeling good on the given day, he can really challenge any player on any surface. That’s how I see him. We have always been aware of his potential and his talent. Just that he wasn’t able to keep things consistent throughout his career.”
FRIDAY DOHA SCHEDULE
ENTRE COURT start 3:00 pm
J. Chardy (FRA) / F. Martin (FRA) vs  V. Pospisil (CAN) / R. Stepanek (CZE)
Not Before 5:00 pm
F. Verdasco (ESP) vs  N. Djokovic (SRB)
 A. Murray (GBR) vs  T. Berdych (CZE)
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