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Published: Mon, May 01, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Murray and Nadal advance to Barcelona Open semifinals


Murray and Thiem twice traded breaks of serve in the third set, before the Austrian claimed his first match point with the Scot serving to stay in it at 5-4.

Thiem cranked 25 forehand winners defeating Murray for the first time in three meetings and reaching his 12th career final.

Sugita next faces Austrian fourth seed Dominic Thiem, a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victor over Dan Evans of Britain. He started to hit the ball pretty hard and was pushing me back.

"He's the No. 1 (player) in the world, so you have to find something in between playing aggressive and not making mistakes", Thiem said.

Maria Sharapova's first tournament since her controversial return to tennis is over after losing to Kristina Mladenovic of France in the Porsche Grand Prix semifinals. And if there was one statistic that showed how effective he was on the offensive, he had won 22 points out of 30 at the net.

Last year, Bedene reached a career-best third round at Roland Garros but missed out on Madrid and had to come through qualifying in Rome, where he lost in the first round.

Thiem started strong, breaking Murray's first two service games before adding a third break en route to taking the first set.

The Slovenia-born 27-year-old, world ranked 68, captured back-to-back titles on the second-tier ATP Challenger Tour earlier this month and has now won 23 of his last 24 matches.

Despite Murray producing a recovery to take the match into a deciding set, when both players' faltering serve was tested, the world number nine who progressed after two hours and 16 minutes. Thiem will play Rafael Nadal today.

The duo have met each other thrice in the past, with Nadal now leading 2-1 with their last meeting coming in the Monte-Carlo Masters in 2016.

In the final, Thiem will meet Nadal who had no trouble with Horacia Zeballos blitzing the Argentine lefty 6-3, 6-4. Cranking deep drives into the corner, Thiem broke right out of the box and broke again as he went on to snatch the opening set in a half hour.

In Budapest, British No 4 Aljaz Bedene secured a place in the final of the Hungarian Open with a 6-2 6-4 win over Serbia's Laslo Djere.

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