© Shenzhen Open

Fernando Verdasco was strong on serve in beating 2014 champion Andy Murray on Friday in Shenzhen.

Verdasco Ends Murray's Run In Shenzhen

Nishioka beats Norrie for second tour-level semi-final

Fernando Verdasco ended Andy Murray’s bid for a second Shenzhen Open crown on Friday. The Spanish veteran reached his first ATP World Tour hard-court semi-final for almost 12 months with a 6-4, 6-4 victory in one hour and 40 minutes.

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Verdasco was solid on serve – dropping just five of his first-service points (27/32) and hitting 11 aces, including on match point – to beat Murray for just the third time in 16 FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings.

“Beating a player like Andy, it's always a tough thing to do. You have to push yourself to the limit and you know that you have to play really, really good from the first point to the last point, because he's always there, he's always fighting... You really have to be focused the whole match,” Verdasco said.

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The 34-year-old withstood two break points at 4-4, prior to breaking Murray’s serve in the next game. He opened up a 3-1 lead in the second set, and finished with 36 winners (14 off his forehand wing). Verdasco, who also beat Murray in the US Open second round, last reached a tour-level hard-court semi-final in October 2017 at the Intrum Stockholm Open (l. to Del Potro).

“First set I think I had quite a few chances. Didn't take them. When he had his opportunities he played well,” Murray said. “In the second set, he deserved to win. He served well. He was very aggressive from the back of the court and didn't make too many mistakes.”

Earlier in the day, Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka advanced to his second tour-level semi-final by beating Cameron Norrie of Great Britain 7-6(2), 6-2 in 90 minutes. Norrie lost just five of his first-service points, but won 11 of 28 points on his second serve.

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