SHANGHAI, China -- Second-seeded Andy Murray extended his current win streak to 11 matches with an easy win over Australian qualifier Matt Ebden, 6-3, 6-2, in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Shanghai Rolex Masters.
Coming off successive titles in Bangkok and Tokyo, Murray played a mistake-free match, holding serve throughout and converting four-of-11 break point opportunities, and is now in great position to win his third straight tournament.
"I created loads of chances. I thought I played better in the second set. I thought I hit the ball a bit better," offered Murray. "I had game points in almost every one of his service games during the match."
After Ebden tied the first set at three games apiece, heroically fending off a triple break point and four deuces, Murray went on to win the next seven games, breaking Ebden three times to effectively ice the victory.
Murray advances to the semi-finals, where he will face Japanese sensation Kei Nishikori, who took out 12th-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov, 6-4, 6-3.
Ranked 47th in the world coming into the tournament, Nishikori has been on fire in Shanghai since ousting fourth-seeded Jo-Wilfired Tsonga in the second round, and is now looking to score the biggest upset of his career in his first-ever Masters Series semi-final.
"It means a lot ... to play semis here ... I'm really excited," explained Nishikori. "I knew [Dolgopolov is] going to hit a lot of slice and I have to be careful. I was trying to be, you know, not going for too much, just try to steady on the court, and that works."
Having never faced Murray, an odds-on favorite coming into ATP World Tour Master 1000 event, Nishikori will look to his coach Brad Gilbert, Murray's former mentor, for his game plan.
"I have nothing to lose. Only thing I have to do is I have to go aggressive and give him lot of pressure," added Nishikori. "But, yeah, I'm playing well this week. I'm getting a lot of confidence. If I can play my best tennis, I think I will have some chance to win."
While Murray and Nishikori advance, the same cannot be said of 10th-seeded Andy Roddick, who fell to third-seeded David Ferrer, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (3), in a grueling two-and-a-half hour match.
"I thought second and third sets he played at an extremely high level and served pretty well," commented Roddick. "You normally don't count on him making a lot of first serves, hitting aces. I felt like today he did that and got himself out of trouble a couple of times. When he's doing that, he's definitely tough to beat."
Down one set to none for the second straight day, Ferrer came from behind to capture the win, breaking serve twice in the second set, out ace-ing Roddick 11-10.
"I play with more confidence with my game, more consistent, and I can win in the tiebreak of the third," stated Ferrer. "In important moments I served really good.
Having already disposed of compatriot Juan Carlos Ferrero in the third round, Ferrer now advances to face yet another Spaniard in Feliciano Lopez, who took out 15th-seeded Florian Mayer, 6-2, 6-4.
Most famous for being on the losing end of one of the longest matches in tennis history, Lopez is no stranger to the Shanghai hard court, previously advancing the semi-finals of the 2009, when he lost to eventual runner-up Rafael Nadal.