- Associated Press - Saturday, August 20, 2011

MASON, Ohio — Andy Murray survived enough break points to set up a tournament title match against the world’s top player.

The Scotsman overcame a pair of break points late in the second set, then another in the tiebreaker, beating American Mardy Fish 6-3, 7-6 (8) Saturday and advancing to the final at the Western & Southern Open.

He’ll play No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who advanced when Tomas Berdych withdrew from their semifinal because of a shoulder injury. Murray will be trying for only his second tournament win this season, to go with his title at the Queen’s Club in June.

“I think it would be perfect preparation to play him before the U.S. Open, to see what I need to work on,” Murray said.

He got his chance by hanging on.

Murray survived a 2-hour, 18-minute match on a hot, humid afternoon that took a toll on both players. Murray repeatedly bent over and grabbed the back of his legs during a close second set that included six service breaks.

The fourth-ranked Murray lost his opening match in Montreal last week, but recovered quickly in Cincinnati, where he reached the semifinals for the fifth time in his past six tournaments. Now, he gets a chance for his second title in Cincinnati — he also won it in 2008, his first Masters series championship.

This one was a struggle.

Fish has gotten the better of his matches against Murray lately, beating him three times last year. Plus, he’s on one of the best spurts of his career, winning 14 of his last 16 matches coming in. He reached the semifinals with one of the best wins of his career, beating No. 2 Rafael Nadal for the first time in seven matches.

He’ll be the top-ranked American heading into the U.S. Open.

“It will be much different for me this time, in a good way,” Fish said. “I hope to keep playing the way I’m playing. I’m right there. I played good all week. Just trying to solidify my spot, show that I belong, convince myself that I belong as well.”

Fish showed right away that he badly wanted to reach the Cincinnati finals for a second year in a row.

During the fourth game, Fish came to the net and dived while trying to make a return, landing hard on his right knee. Blood trickled from two scrapes by the knee for the rest of the game, which Murray won to break serve and go up 3-1.

It was a telling moment. Fish was the only player who hadn’t lost a game off his serve during the tournament. He would be broken four times overall in a match full of break chances.

The second set came down to saving break points, and Murray was a little better at it. There were four straight breaks, six in all, during the set.

Story Continues →