Andy Murray takes on Lucas Pouille in the first semi-final of the ongoing Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre on Friday.
The top seed is heading into the match after a marathon quarter-final clash against Philipp Kohlschreiber, which he won 6-7 (4), 7-6 (18), 6-1 on Thursday. The world number one was pushed to the limits in the first two sets and he had to save seven match points in the hard-fought second set tie-breaker, which extended to record-equalling 31 minutes.
Murray, who suffered a shock fourth-round exit at the Australian Open in January, has been in good form in Dubai, decimating lower-ranked players over the first two rounds in straight sets. A tough test in the third round, in which the Brit refused to give it up, would have boosted his confidence ahead of the semi-final clash.
The 2012 finalist would want to go the distance in the ongoing tournament as the top-ranked star has been title-less in the ongoing season. Also, second seed Roger Federer's early exit has cleared his passage to the title match. Murray though would want to focus on the job in hand on Friday against the in-form, seventh-seeded Frenchman.
Poulie, who reached a career-high world number 15 in 2016 after reaching the quarter-final of Wimbledon and US Open, had a disappointing start to the new season as he suffered early exits in Brisbane, Melbourne and Rotterdam. However, he regained form by reaching the final of Marseille, in which he lost to compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The 23-year-old, who has never beaten Murray in their earlier meetings (3-0), has a good opportunity to test his semi-final opponent, who also has to battle fatigue especially after his hard-fought quarter-final win.
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