Andy Murray beats David Ferrer to reach Valencia Open final
Andy Murray reached the Valencia Open final and took a huge step towards qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals with victory over David Ferrer.
The Briton won 6-4 7-5 - his second victory in three meetings with Spaniard Ferrer in the last three weeks.
Murray will take on Tommy Robredo in Sunday's final after the Spaniard beat Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-2).
He will move up to fifth in the Race to London standings if he wins the title, with ninth good enough to qualify.
"After the US Open I was aware that I would need to win a lot of matches to try to reach the Tour Finals," said Murray, who is playing for the fifth week in a row.
"So it was important for me to try and get as many matches as I can against the top players between now and the end of the year."
Ferrer had begun the day just one place behind Murray and will head to next week's Paris Masters - the final event of the regular season - in ninth, ahead of Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov.
Murray has already been placed in a tough section of the Paris draw that includes Dimitrov and Novak Djokovic, which made Saturday's victory over Ferrer all the more important.
|Six players chasing four places at ATP Finals|
|Race to London position||Player||Nationality|
|* Murray through to Sunday's Valencia finalThird-placed Rafael Nadal will not play again in 2014Sixth-placed Marin Cilic qualifies as US Open champion|
|5th - 4,265 points||Kei Nishikori (not playing this week)||Jpn|
|7th - 4,105 points||Tomas Berdych (lost in Valencia first round)||Cze|
|8th - 4,095 points *||Andy Murray (into Valencia final)||GB|
|9th - 3,865 points||David Ferrer (lost in Valencia semis)||Spa|
|10th - 3,840 points||Milos Raonic (lost in Basel quarters)||Can|
|11th - 3,555 points||Grigor Dimitrov (lost in Basel quarters)||Bul|
Murray made much the better start, breaking at the first opportunity as Ferrer double-faulted twice and coming through the only early alarm by saving a break point while serving for the set.
Ferrer looked unusually forlorn when an error-strewn service game saw him fall behind early in the second set and, after recovering from 0-40 to deuce in game three, a tame forehand in the net gave up the double-break.
A 6-4 3-0 lead looked like being enough for the former Wimbledon champion but Ferrer, urged on by his home crowd, launched a terrific fightback as Murray's level dropped.
When Murray double-faulted to offer up another break point in game eight, watching coach Amelie Mauresmo looked understandably concerned in the stands, but her charge clung on to make it 4-4.
The set remained in the balance and the pressure switched once again to Ferrer, who saved two break points at 5-5 but could not withstand some fine hitting from Murray on the third.
Serving out a match of such significance was never likely to be straightforward and Murray had to fight off three break points, the second with a bold second serve right onto the line.
One match point went begging but a big first serve then set up his forehand and Murray roared in delight at one of the biggest wins of his year.
"Murray served pretty well in the first set and I couldn't do anything," said Ferrer.
"In the first set and part of second, he was better than me. Andy is a pretty good player. If you aren't focused against him, you pay."
In Basel, Roger Federer defeated Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 6-3 to set up a final against Belgian David Goffin, who beat Croatian teenager Borna Coric 6-4 3-6 6-4.