Second seed Andy Murray has successfully seen off the challenge of friend and Davis Cup teammate Kyle Edmund to book his spot in the last four of the 2016 China Open. The world number two will now face Spaniard David Ferrer for a place in the final after beating his fellow Briton 7-6, 6-2 at the National Tennis Center in Beijing.
It was not all plain sailing for Murray, however, with the reigning Olympic and Wimbledon singles champion, who eased past Andreas Seppi and Andrey Kuznetsov to advance to the quarter-finals, made to work incredibly hard during a gruelling first set that featured some excellent tennis and was eventually won 11-9 on a tiebreak that Edmund had initially led 5-2.
Johannesburg-born Edmund came through two qualifying rounds to reach the main draw and provisionally moved into the top 50 of the ATP rankings with impressive wins over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Roberto Bautista Agut.
He continued to show impressive fighting spirit during the early stages of the second set on Friday (7 October), holding firm to secure his first break of the match and an encouraging 2-0 lead.
He failed to capitalise on that advantage, however, with Murray hitting back and comfortably holding serve to eradicate the advantage. Edmund, despite continuing to trouble his opponent's serve, then conceded two more successive breaks to end an otherwise spirited challenge.
Ferrer now stands in Murray's path after following up victories over Pablo Cuevas and Fabio Fognini with a battling 6-7, 6-1, 7-5 defeat of impressive German teenager Alexander Zverev. The semi-finalists in the bottom half of the draw depend on the outcome of matches between Milos Raonic/Pablo Carreno Busta and 2005 winner Rafael Nadal/Grigor Dimitrov.
Novak Djokovic, who has won six of the last seven men's singles titles in Beijing courtesy of victory in all 29 of his matches at the ATP 500 event to date, withdrew from the tournament last week due to an ongoing elbow injury.