ROME (AP) Andy Murray beat French qualifier Lucas Pouille 6-2, 6-1 at the Italian Open on Saturday to advance to his second clay-court final in two weeks.
Murray maintained his focus through two rain delays at the Foro Italico and will face either top-ranked Novak Djokovic or sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori for the title on Sunday.
Murray also reached the final of last week’s Madrid Open, losing to Djokovic.
The start of the match was delayed for nearly an hour due to rain. Then there was a suspension of about 10 minutes midway through the first set due to a brief downpour.
The match time was less than an hour.
Murray, who hasn’t dropped a set this week, will return to No. 2 in the rankings ahead of Roger Federer on Monday.
The 52nd-ranked Pouille gained a spot in the tournament as a lucky loser after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga withdrew because of an adductor injury. He advanced to the final when Argentine opponent Juan Monaco withdrew because of injury.
Against Murray, however, Pouille’s luck ran out.
Murray broke early in each set and Pouille was never really in the match.
With the French Open starting next weekend, Murray improved his clay record over this year and last to 28-3.
In the women’s semifinals, Serena Williams was to play Irina-Camelia Begu and Garbine Muguruza was facing Madison Keys.
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NEWPORT, R.I. — Top-seeded John Isner beat Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden 6-3, 7-6 (4) on Sunday for his third Hall of Fame Open title.
The hard-serving American also won the grass-court event in 2011 and 2012. He has 11th career titles, all at the ATP World Tour 250 level.
“It’s hard to win a tournament,” Isner said. “It’s no small feat to come out here and be the last man standing. I’m very happy about that. It’s been two years since I won a tournament, so I had that weighing on my mind.”
Isner became the second player to win an ATP title without facing a break point since records began in 1991. Tommy Haas also accomplished the feat in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2007.
“I’m very happy with how I played all week,” Isner said. “It was a perfect week and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Ebden was playing his first tour-level final.
“It’s a lot of reward for a lot of hard work, a lot of years of sacrifice,” Ebden said. “It’s disappointing, but at the same time I have to be happy with my week.”
NEWPORT, R.I. — Andy Roddick says jokingly he can now keep Roger Federer from a unanimous selection for the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
As a new inductee, Roddick gets to vote on future candidates. He jested ahead of his enshrinement on Saturday that he’ll use it to get back at Federer, who stood in his way during at least four Grand Slam finals.
Roddick joins inductees Kim Clijsters, six-time Paralympic medalist Monique Kalkman and journalist and historian Steve Flink. Tennis instructor and innovator Vic Braden was to be inducted posthumously.
Roddick won one Grand Slam and lost to Federer in the finals four times. He says he doesn’t ask himself what would have happened if he hadn’t come along at the same time of perhaps the greatest player.
He says the first text he got when he woke up Saturday was from Federer. Says Roddick: “He makes it extremely hard not to like him as a person.”