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Federer awaits cruising Murray

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:12

The pair have faced each other five times in the last year, with Murray winning four but losing the most high-profile – the US Open final.

Murray, the defending champion in Doha, came out on top last week in the semi-finals of the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, the latest contest in a series of close matches between the duo.

The winner of Friday’s last-four clash will be a firm favourite to claim the title on Saturday following top seed Rafael Nadal’s surprise defeat by Gael Monfils on Thursday.

The first set against Stakhovsky was a close affair with the Ukrainian more than matching his opponent for touch and shot-making.

But once Murray had moved ahead it was largely one-way traffic, with the 21-year-old again dropping only six games for the third consecutive match.

The match was a repeat of the meeting that first announced Murray’s huge promise to the world when he beat Stakhovsky in the final of the US Open juniors.

That was in 2004 and the Scot has certainly more than justified the hype since then in his rise to number four in the world.

Stakhovsky, who won his first ATP Tour title in Zagreb last March, is currently ranked 91st, just below his best of 74th achieved last November.

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