VIENNA – David Ferrer and Andy Murray advanced to the semifinals of the Erste Bank Open on Friday, boosting their chances to qualify for the ATP Finals next month.
The top-seeded Ferrer overcame 17 aces in a 7-6 (5), 6-4 defeat of Ivo Karlovic of Croatia and will next take on Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.
Murray defeated Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-2, 7-5 to set up a semifinal against Viktor Troicki of Serbia.
Ferrer and Murray are ninth and 10th respectively in the race to London and both accepted wild cards last Friday in order to gain ground on the top 8, who qualify for the season-ending event.
After winning the opening set, Ferrer used his first break point to go 3-1 up in the second and served out the match with his fifth ace.
Murray won five games in a row, including the last 14 points, to take the opening set against the 52nd-ranked Struff. The Scot dropped serve with a double-fault on the only break point he faced to fall 3-1 behind in the second but broke back and added another break at 5-5.
"I felt it was a bit more consistent," Murray said, comparing his performance to his hard-fought win over Vasek Pospisil in the second round. "I had not so many mistakes from the back of the court."
The former 12th-ranked Troicki is now 127th after returning from a one-year doping suspension in July. A year ago, Murray called Troicki "unprofessional" for failing the blood test that led to the Serb's ban but Troicki said he had no hard feelings toward the Olympic champion.
"I don't think (Murray) knew the whole story behind it," Troicki said. "I don't have anything against him, it was just his opinion. ... I know him OK but he was never like such a great friend that I expected support from him."
Troicki saved two set points at 6-5 in the opening set. The Serb lost the second from a break up before hitting eight aces and conceding just three points on serve in the final set.
"My goal is to get as soon as possible to top 100. I am on a good way," said Troicki, whose last appearance in the semifinals of an ATP event came in Moscow in 2011. "It's a long time since I played semifinals and it means even more if you come from qualifying."
Kohlschreiber, who returned this week from a month-long injury layoff, conceded three straight games from 5-1 up before converting his first set point against Becker.
He lost a 4-2 lead in the second before wrapping up the victory in a tiebreaker and advancing to his fifth semifinal of the season.