Defending champion Andy Murray maintained his hold over Roger Federer to charge into the final of the Qatar Open with a 6-7 6-2 6-2 win on Friday.
The British third seed frustrated Federer with his tactical nous from the baseline to chalk up his fifth win in six matches against the 13-times grand slam champion.
Murray will be hoping to retain his title when he takes on American Andy Roddick in the final.
The world number four earned the sole break point of the opening set but could only watch from the baseline as Federer conjured up a screeching forehand winner to avert the danger.
The Swiss, who will be seeking to win a record-equalling 14th grand slam crown at the Australian Open later this month, let slip a 4-1 lead in the tiebreak and had to save a set point at 5-6 with a delicate backhand volley.
An ace moved him 7-6 ahead and he kept his focus to caress a backhand crosscourt winner and take the set on the hour mark.
From then on, Federer appeared to fade away as Murray produced winners from all angles. He hit back to win the second set with two breaks, often giving a frustrated Federer the runaround.
Leading 2-1 in the deciding set, Murray called in the trainer to get his back massaged. The interruption failed to distract him and he relentlessly attacked the Federer backhand to immediately gain a 3-1 lead.
Winning only two games from 2-2 in the second set, Federer compounded his own misery by producing a string of unforced errors.
Barely able to produce the form that has arguably made him the greatest player to pick up a tennis racket, Federer surrendered the match by slamming an easy overhead into the net.
6 months ago