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Federer overcomes lapse to set up Murray clash

THREE-TIME champion Roger Federer downed Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 7-6 (5) on Thursday to move into the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.

Second-seeded Federer will play No. 4 Andy Murray next. The 21-year-old Scot defeated Ivan Ljubicic 7-5, 7-6 (6) to run his 2009 match record to 19-1.

The other quarterfinals have top-seeded Rafael Nadal meeting sixth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, and No. 3 Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, facing seventh-seeded Andy Roddick.

Federer overcame a lapse in the second set, when he hit three bad shots in a brief span to allow No. 10 Verdasco to break his service and take a 6-5 lead. But the Swiss star came back to break Verdasco in the following game, when Verdasco double faulted, hit a forehand long and a backhand long to lose three of the final four points.

Federer then built a 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker and finished it off with a service winner.

"It was difficult," Federer said. "I wasn't quite happy with the match, but for a while there, I actually was playing OK. I struggled with my rhythm on the backhand."

Verdasco said: "I think we didn't play our best tennis in any moment of the match. I didn't feel so good tonight. I also don't think he played his best tennis."

Murray beat Ljubicic by simply keeping the ball in play. Murray hit just 17 winners to 36 by his Croatian opponent, but made only 15 unforced errors to Ljubicic's 40.

The loss sullied Ljubicic's 30th birthday. He is the oldest player remaining in the field.

Murray has won in Doha and Rotterdam.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a 17-year-old from Moscow who's beginning to look like the next Russian star, continued her run of upsets with a 7-6 (8), 6-4 victory over seventh-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland. Pavlyuchenkova, ranked 42nd in the world, who knocked off No. 3 ranked Jelena Jankovic of Serbia in the second round, next faces defending champion Ana Ivanovic.

Ivanovic advanced when her opponent, Sybille Bammer, withdrew with an injured left shoulder. Victoria Azarenka plays Vera Zvonareva in the women's other semifinal.


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