Andy Murray beats Lucas Pouille to reach Dubai Championships final
Britain's Andy Murray beat Frenchman Lucas Pouille 7-5 6-1 to reach his second Dubai Championships final.
The world number one, who was involved in a 31-minute tie-break in his quarter-final, struggled in the first set against seventh seed Pouille.
The pair broke each other twice before Murray took the set after 68 minutes with his third break.
The final set was a one-sided affair as the Scot set up a meeting with Fernando Verdasco in Saturday's final.
Spaniard Verdasco, 33, beat Dutchman Robin Haase 7-6 (7-5) 5-7 6-1.
Murray has now reached seven finals in his last eight tournaments and Dubai is his 14th final in his last 16 events.
"It was tough and I made a lot of mistakes," Murray said. "But there was some good stuff in there.
"I think potentially the match yesterday had something to do with that - sometimes if your legs are a little bit tired, the serve is one of the first things that goes.
"As the match went on, I started serving a bit better and that helped me."
Murray conscious of Verdasco threat
Murray, 29, is into his second final of the year but has never won the title in Dubai, losing to Roger Federer in his previous final appearance in 2012.
Playing his first tournament since his fourth-round defeat at the Australian Open in January, the Scot could extend his lead at the top of the world rankings with victory on Saturday.
However, Murray is wary of the threat posed by world number 35 Verdasco, who beat him in the 2009 Australian Open.
"This week he's had some good wins," Murray said. "Where the balls are fairly heavy here on a quick court, he can generate a lot of power, he can control the ball.
"And when he's dictating the points, he's one of the best in the world at doing that."
World number two Novak Djokovic was knocked out of the Mexico Open quarter-finals in straight sets by Australian Nick Kyrgios on Thursday.