KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) — Even from the cheap seats, the ones with a lovely view of the Miami skyline, a thud reverberated when Andy Murray angrily whacked his tennis bag with his racket.
Murray was miffed after losing the first set of Friday's semifinal at the Sony Open. But he found no further need to punish his equipment, rallying past a gimpy Richard Gasquet 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-2.
Murray's opponent Sunday will be No. 3-seeded David Ferrer, who beat Tommy Haas, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Ferrer will appear in his first Key Biscayne final after twice losing in the semifinals, while Murray won the tournament in 2009 and was runner-up last year.
Murray endured some wobbly moments against Gasquet, double-faulting twice on break point, and he lost a set for the first time in tournament when the stylish Frenchman played a flawless tiebreaker.
But the No. 8-seeded Gasquet aggravated a lingering right ankle injury and required treatment from a trainer after the second set, and he limped at times.
"I didn't know when exactly he started feeling it," Murray said. "But he definitely wasn't moving in the third set too well to his forehand side. So obviously tactics change. You try to make them run to that side as much as possible. And it worked."
Gasquet said he hurt his ankle earlier this month at Indian Wells, and it began to feel worse in the second set.
"I felt it a little bit, and I have some problems," he said. "But I try my best. For sure when you have to play a guy like Andy, it's tough. I think I didn't lose because of that. I lost because he's very good."
Murray had a 38-19 edge in winners and converted seven of eight break-point chances.
"He's the best defender in the world and he never misses," Gasquet said.
Ferrer won the final five games of his semifinal and improved to 25-4 this year. He leads the tour in victories and is trying to become the first Spaniard to win the Key Biscayne men's championship.
Rafael Nadal is a three-time runner-up, and Spaniards are 0-5 in the final.
"I will try to do my best to win Sunday," Ferrer said. "It's going to be very difficult, no?"
Murray's ranked No. 3 and would climb to No. 2 if he wins the title. He has a 6-5 record against Ferrer, a frequent practice partner.
"He's an unbelievable competitor, a great fighter," Murray said. "We train a lot together, so we know each other's games well. It should be a really tough match with a lot of long rallies."
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