Experience triumphed in the battle of the Brits in Beijing as number one seed Andy Murray took out Davis Cup teammate Kyle Edmund 7-6(9), 6-2. Murray will now play David Ferrer for a place in the China Open final.
The first set was extremely tight. Murray's exceptional first serves and Edmund's venomous forehands meant that there were no breaks of serve. Experience prevailed in a very close tiebreak which Murray took 11-9 after being a mini-break down. Edmund made an impressive start to the second set with a good hold followed by a break of the Murray serve, but the number one seed then went on the offensive, reeling off the next six games to secure his place in the semi-finals.
There were chances for Edmund on return in Murray's first two service games at 30-30 but the number one seed came through without facing any break points.
Edmund was in danger at 2-1 as he went from 40-0 to deuce with Murray's big returning troubling him. Big first serves followed by the punishing forehand of Edmund got him out of trouble and leveled them up at 2-2. Murray sailed through his next service game with the help of some excellent serving.
The younger Brit then played an excellent game to hold. Murray's world-class returning was putting the pressure on but keeping himself in the rally and getting back in front with massive crunching forehands, that not even Murray's incredible defense could return, got him through.
Edmund used his forehand to set up the points well on return. He hammered the ball around the court and waited for the short ball from Murray, which was easily dealt with at the net. Although having chances at 30-30,Murray continued serving incredibly well, not allowing Edmund a look in as he held for 4-3.
After an easy hold of serve each, Edmund was serving to stay in the set. Murray quickly went two points away from the set but Edmund soaked up the pressure and reeled off the next four points. A game point for Edmund came and went and Murray started pushing with his backhand to earn set point. A brave passing shot from Edmund saved it and took them back to deuce. An error from Murray gave Edmund another game point, which Murray erased with a bit of luck as a backhand slice clipped the top of the net and just rolled over to the other side. But Murray's luck didn't last long, as Edmund finally held for 5-5.
Murray held easily as Edmund was still unable to do anything with the massive first serves that Murray was dealing him. Edmund then had an easy hold of his own to take the Brits into a first set tiebreak. Edmund was handed the mini-break as Murray hit a loose forehand to go 1-3 down before a big first serve kept him in touch at 3-2. Edmund held on to his next two points on serve to go ahead 5-2. Murray reduced the deficit to 5-4 as he pushed through some great defense from Edmund. A careless forehand down the line attempt gave Murray the mini-break back for 5-5 and a drop shot from the number one seed landed in the net to give Edmund set point on his opponent's serve.
Murray worked Edmund around the court, dictating from the baseline to erase the set point for 6-6. A long rally of huge groundstrokes left Murray with set point, that he couldn't take as his return just drifted long. The next point though went the way of Murray after a huge return to give him set point on his own serve. Edmund injected pace with his forehand and came out on top of a grueling rally to even them up. Another set point on his compatriot's serve came for Murray at 9-8, but it disappeared as quickly as it arrived. The next point though went the way of Murray to give the number one seed his fifth set point, and this time Edmund couldn't fight back as Murray hammered down another massive first serve to take the first set 7-6(9).
Cruising into the semi-finals
There were chances for both men on return in the opening two games of the set as they both went 0-30 down on serve. Both ended up with a break point, but Edmund was the only one to take the break with a double fault from Murray handing the younger brit the first break of the match and a 2-0 lead.
The world number 54 looked to be cruising to a 3-0 lead at 40-15, but Murray fought through and got the break straight back to go back on serve. Murray then held and then kept his momentum going to break Edmund's serve again and take his third game in a row.
Edmund wasn't going away just yet, as he earned himself two break points. The Edmund forehand was still firing, but Murray's big serving erased the danger and he held on to take his fourth game in a row.
Edmund had his first real dip in form in his next service game. Murray broke again with ease as Edmund hit a double fault to hand the world number two the break to love and allow him to serve for the match. Murray sealed his place in the semi-finals with an easy hold to take the second set 6-2.