Tennis: Murray beats Berdych to reach Miami final

MIAMI (AFP) - Andy Murray will try to cap a milestone week with a third Miami Masters title after beating Czech Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4 on Friday to secure his final berth.

Murray, who this week joined the elite club of players to win 500 career matches, booked his fourth trip to the championship match at Key Biscayne, where he will face either world number one Novak Djokovic or American John Isner.

Djokovic, who defeated Murray in the Australian Open final for his eighth Grand Slam crown, is trying to become the first player to sweep the Indian Wells and Miami Masters titles on three separate occasions. He achieved the US hardcourt double in 2011 and again last year.

Djokovic owns a 6-2 career record over Isner, the big-serving American who powered past US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals to become the first American man to reach Miami's final four since Mardy Fish in 2011.

With the win over Berdych, Murray evened his record against the eighth-seeded Czech at 6-6 and backed up his victory in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

"I thought it was a high quality match," said the 27-year-old Scot, who is set to return to number three in the world next week.

"We were both striking the ball clean. I felt I returned a bit better, and that made the difference."

The two sets unfolded in identical fashion, Scotland's Murray opening with a break of Berdych's serve, dropping his own serve then breaking again.

That second break in each set proved enough for Murray, who is now poised to battle for his first Masters level title since he lifted the trophy here at Crandon Park in 2013.

Down 0-30 in the ninth game of the second set, Berdych rallied to hold serve and force Murray to serve for the match.

Murray trailed 0-30, but battled back and gave himself a match point with an angled forehand volley followed by a backhand cross-court winner before sealing it with a final cross-court forehand that was too much for the Czech.

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