British No. 1 Andy Murray sealed his semi-final slot at the China Open with straight sets win over US Open champion Marin Cilic on Friday.
The 6th seed won 71 per cent of his first serve and saved all five break points he faced to claim a 6-1 6-4 win in one hour and 38 minutes.
The win was Murray’s 10th in 12 meetings with the Croat and his seventh successive wins, including a title run-in at the inaugural Shenzhen Open last week.
The three-time Grand Slam champion will face top seed Novak Djokovic in Saturday’s semi-final after the Serb saw off Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 6-4 to increase his record in Beijing to 22-0.
Djokovic leads the age-mate, 27, pair’s ATP head-to-head 13-8, including a four sets quarter-final win at the US Open and a straight sets quarter-final win in Miami in their only prior meetings this year.
“Andy just won last week the [Shenzhen] tournament, [he’s on a] seven-match winning match streak,” said Djokovic. “I’ve seen a little bit of his matches this week. He’s hitting the ball very well. Every time I play him, it’s a huge challenge. It’s a very physical match. A lot of long rallies, exchanges. I do not expect anything less than that tomorrow.”
Dimitrov, seeded 5th in China this year, will continue his bid to qualify for a maiden year-end ATP Tour Finals at the Shanghai Masters next week.
Murray, who climbed up to 9th in the race to London with his sin over the 4th seed, joined Canadian Milos Raonic- who also won his quarter-final match in Tokyo- to leapfrog Spaniard David Ferrer in the bid for the ATP season-ending championship. The top eight at the end of the regular season will play at the ATP Tour Finals.
The Scot moved up to tenth after saving match points against Tommy Robredo to win the Shenzhen final last week.
Czech’s Thomas Berdych beat John Isner of USA 6-1 6-4 in the other quarter-finals match on Friday.
The 3rd seed saved all his break points and snatched three out of 8 presented by the 8th seed to retain hopes of reaching the ATP final showdown.
He will face the winner of the last 8 match between Spaniard Rafael Nadal and Slovakia’s Martin Klizan in the semi-final.