Andy Murray beat top-seeded David Ferrer 6-4, 7-5 Saturday to reach the final of the Valencia Open.
The third-seeded Murray, who won the title here in 2009, bettered Ferrer at his own ground game to win most of their long rallies on the indoor hard court.
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The Briton jumped to an early lead in both sets by breaking the hometown favorite’s first service games before Ferrer fought back from 3-0 down in the second set to take a 4-3 lead. Murray settled down, broke the three-time champion again and served out the final game.
Murray will face Tommy Robredo in Sunday’s final after the Spaniard beat Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (7), 7-6 (2).
Murray will rise to No. 5 in the rankings if he beats Robredo as he tries to qualify for the ATP finals.
"After the U.S. Open I was aware that I would need to win a lot of matches to try to reach the tour finals," said Murray. "So it was important for me to try and get as many matches as I can against the top players between now and the end of the year."
Murray and Ferrer had met last week in the final of the Erste Bank Open, with Murray also coming out on top.
Murray started strongly by hustling for a passing shot before Ferrer committed two double-faults to cede his first service game. Murray didn’t give Ferrer a break point until he was serving for the first set, but he then hit two big serves before Ferrer sent a forehand wide to give his opponent the lead.
Murray started the second set in identical fashion, but he needed four chances before breaking Ferrer a third time to build a 3-0 advantage.
The Spaniard rallied to win the next four games but wasted a chance to break Murray for a third straight game.
Murray then got the decisive break but still needed to save three break points before serving out the match.
"Murray served pretty well (in the) first set and I couldn’t do anything," Ferrer said. "In the first set and part of second, he was better than me. Andy is a pretty good player. If you aren’t focused against him, you pay."