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Murray to meet Kazakh qualifier

Last updated on: October 25, 2008 23:22 IST

Murray in last four

Top seed Andy Murray will defend his St Petersburg Open title against surprise finalist Andrey Golubev after thrashing Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-3 in the semi-finals on Saturday.

The 150th-ranked Kazakh qualifier Golubev, who upset former world number one Marat Safin in round two, crushed Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-3, 6-0 in 54 minutes to reach Sunday's final.

Murray, who overwhelmed Verdasco in last year's final to win the $1 million tournament on his debut appearance in Russia's second city, was just as dominant on Saturday as he took his tally against the Spaniard to four wins out of four.

The Briton breezed through the opening set in 25 minutes before the third seed put up some resistance early in the second.

But the world number four, on course for his fifth title of the year and his second in two weeks after clinching the Madrid Masters last Sunday, earned a decisive break in the eighth game and went on to secure victory in just over an hour.

Golubev, who has played mainly on the Challenger circuit and had won only three ATP matches in his career until this week, said he was looking forward to facing Murray in his first big final.

"This has been a dream week for me," the 21-year-old, who was born and raised in Russia before switching his alliance to Kazakhstan last year, told reporters.

"I've already achieved more than I've ever expected and I'll have nothing to lose against Murray. I just don't want to be embarrassed tomorrow and to show that I can play tennis too."

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