Andy Murray produced another remarkable comeback from the brink of defeat, saving five match points to beat Jiri Lehecka and reach the Qatar Open final.
The Briton, 35, beat the talented Czech youngster 6-0 3-6 7-6 (8-6) in yet another fluctuating match in Doha.
Murray saved two match points on his own serve and three as Lehecka served for the match before somehow rallying to win the deciding tie-break.
He will face former world number one Daniil Medvedev in Saturday’s final.
Murray, who is into his fifth final in Doha and a first overall since June 2022, roared with delight as victory over 21-year-old Lehecka was confirmed and the crowd rose to their feet.
Asked how he had fought back, Murray laughed and said: “I don’t know – that was one of the most amazing turnarounds I’ve had in my career.
“I have no idea how I managed to turn that one round, to be honest.
“I will enjoy this evening and hopefully put on a good performance tomorrow.”
It caps another astonishing week in Murray’s resurgence since his career-saving hip surgery in January 2019.
Murray has won three matches from match-point down this year – including in the first round in Qatar – as well as winning all six deciding sets he has contested.
He now faces another tough test against 2021 US Open champion Medvedev, who beat second seed Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4 7-6 (9-7) later on Friday.
Elsewhere, British number one Cameron Norrie reached the Rio Open semi-finals after fighting back to beat Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien 4-6 6-1 6-4.
Judy Murray coached both Andy and Jamie Murray when they started playing tennis
Murray raced through the opening set in just 33 minutes, dropping just six points on his serve to put himself in a strong position.
However, Lehecka is one of the brightest prospects on the men’s tour, having beaten top seed Andrey Rublev in the previous round, and responded in emphatic fashion.
He raced to a 4-1 lead, saving two break points before serving out the set to force a decider.
Murray cut a frustrated figure in the deciding set, shouting at himself and his support box after being broken to go 2-1 down.
He showed his trademark hustle to immediately rescue the break, but a poor service game – and some strong hitting by Lehecka – saw the Scot broken to love.
But as is the story of Murray’s season, it did not feel as though the match was over. Having come through a difficult service game at 5-3, with Lehecka missing his first two match points, Murray pounced as his young opponent served for the match.
Lehecka raced out to a 40-0 lead before a netted backhand, a Murray passing winner and a thumping forehand forced deuce.
A wide shot from Lehecka put the set back on equal terms but the momentum was with Murray, who calmly held serve before a composed tie-break performance put him into the final.
“There is a certain calmness to those situations because you have been in them a lot in a short period of time,” Murray said.
“You know how you need to try and play and it becomes a little bit of a habit.”
Elsewhere, world number one Iga Swiatek will face Barbora Krejcikova in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships.
Poland’s Swiatek beat Coco Gauff 6-4 6-2, while Czech Krejcikova beat third seed Jessica Pegula 6-1 5-7 6-0.
Source – BBC Sports