Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return against Spain's Fernando Verdasco during the Indian Wells ATP tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California March 19, 2009. [Xinhua/Reuters]
Triple champion Roger Federer strided into the semifinals of the Indian Wells tennis event on Thursday, beating 10th-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 7-6.
The Swiss world number two broke left-hander Verdasco in the fifth and ninth games to sweep through the opening set in 29 minutes before led 4-1 in the second.
He then was met with a late surge from his opponent who came from behind to lead 6-5.
Spain's Fernando Verdasco reacts during his match against Roger Federer of Switzerland at the Indian Wells ATP tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California March 19, 2009. [Xinhua/Reuters]
But Federer managed to break Verdasco in the 12th game and scraped through the tiebreak 7-5.
British world number four Andy Murray spoiled Croat Ivan Ljubicic's 30th birthday with a hard-fought 7-5 7-6 victory.
Murray next meets second seed Federer.
Murray again broke Ljubicic in the 11th game before winning the first set in 52 minutes.
The Scot held the initiative in the second set and served for the match at 5-4 after 74th-ranked Ljubicic was again broken after a mistimed backhand sailed wide.
Murray failed to hold and had to battle in the tiebreak before winning 8-6.
Roger Federer of Switzerland changes his shirt during his match against Spain's Fernando Verdasco at the Indian Wells ATP tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California, March 19, 2009. [Xinhua/Reuters]
(Xinhua News Agency March 21, 2009)