Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are on course to face each other in the final at the Qatar Open after both of them progressed to the last four of the tournament with wins over Nicolas Almagro and Radek Stepanek respectively in the quarter-finals.
It is the first tournament of the 2017 ATP tour and the world's number one and number two ranked players will be keen to get off to a winning start. The Serb is the defending champion and will lose points if he fails to retain his title.
Murray was broken in the first game in the opening set of his match against Almagro, but came back immediately and went on to take the first set in a tie-break. The duo shared breaks at the start of the second set but Murray had the edge to prevail 7-6, 7-5. The Scot will now face third seed Tomas Berdych in the last four, which will be another tricky encounter in quest to make the first final of the year.
Djokovic, on the other hand, had a relatively straight forward 6-3, 6-3 win over Stepanek and will take on Fernando Verdasco in the semi-finals. The Spaniard is on a good run and has already taken out two seeded players thus far. He beat fourth seed David Goffin in the second round, while he dispatched sixth seed Ivo Karlovic in the quarter-finals.
The world number two is aware that he faces a difficult task against the 44th ranked player against whom he has a 8-4 win loss record. They faced each other in the second round last year when Djokovic triumphed 6-2, 6-2.
"I saw a little bit Fernando playing Goffin and is playing an impressive tennis, really solid. He is playing better than last year when we faced each other at second round level. He is a very complete player, has a great forehand and serve. If he has a good day, it's really a challenge for anybody on any surface. We need to be aware of the potential and talent he has. The only thing is that he wasn't consistent during his whole career," Djokovic said after his win over Stepanek, as quoted by tennisworldusa.org
Meanwhile, Murray and Djokovic seem to have put their rivalry aside as they were spotted training together on Thursday (5 January), with Serb sharing a picture of the duo on his official Twitter page.