10/12/12 3:59 PM | Ricky Dimon
Andy Murray comes back from a set down to beat Radek Stepanek on Friday in Shanghai. Murray will go up against Roger Federer for a place in the title match.
Andy Murray put himself two wins away from a third consecutive Shanghai Rolex Masters title on Friday afternoon, but not before getting a scare from Radek Stepanek. Murray recovered from a slow start to prevail 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in two hours and 18 minutes.
Coming off upsets of Richard Gasquet and John Isner, Stepanek stayed hot in the first set. The 33-year-old Czech surged to a 0-40 lead at 2-2 then converted his third break chance on a netted Murray forehand. Stepanek was not even extended to deuce on serve in the opener and he closed it out with little trouble.
Murray never appeared to be in a good mood during this one, but he still started a comeback midway through the set two. Starting at 2-2 the third-ranked Scot won four games in a row, breaking Stepanek in the sixth and eighth games. Murray saved both of the break points he faced in the second and his second break of the day wrapped it up in style.
Stepanek eventually faded late in the decider, but not before plenty of drama. The world No. 41 dug out of a 0-40 hole at 0-1 and used that momentum to capitalize on his third break opportunity in the following game. Murray, though, answered right back and his break for 2-2 proved to be the final turning point. Shanghai's No. 3 seed broke again for 5-3 courtesy of a Stepanek double-fault and he made no mistake with the match on his racket.
"It was quite a scrappy first couple of sets, but obviously the second set I managed to get a break, got a bit of momentum," said Murray, who recorded five aces and four doubles while serving at a modest 54 percent. "Started going for my shots and dictated a majority of those at the end of the match. Obviously I needed to, because he was playing with a lot of variety, making it hard for me."
Next up for Murray is familiar foe and world No. 1 Roger Federer, who defeated Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-4.
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