Andy Murray reached the Qatar Open semi-finals by beating Spain’s Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.The top seed was broken in his opening service game by 31-year-old Almagro, ranked 44th in the world, but recovered to take the first set tie-break.
The pair exchanged breaks early in the second set before Murray prevailed.
Murray will face third seed Tomas Berdych in the semis and, if he progresses, could meet Novak Djokovic in Saturday’s final.
Djokovic, whom Murray replaced as world number one in November, beat veteran Radek Stepanek 6-3 6-3 in their quarter-final to book a meeting with Fernando Verdasco of Spain in the last four.
Elsewhere, Britain’s Aljaz Bedene beat Slovakia’s Martin Klizan to reach the quarter-finals of the Chennai Open in India.
And Australia’s Nick Kyrgios was beaten 6-2 6-2 by Jack Sock at the mixed teams Hopman Cup, in the tie between Australia and the United States.
Kyrigos was defeated in under an hour and later pulled out of the mixed doubles event with a knee problem.
His injury comes less than two weeks before the Australian Open – the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne.