(CNN) -- World number four Andy Murray made a winning start to 2009 with a straight sets victory over James Blake of the United States in a big-money exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Murray strikes a backhand during his straight sets win over Blake in Abu Dhabi.
Murray beat the 10th-ranked Blake 6-2 6-2 to earn a semifinal clash with former world number one Roger Federer on Friday.
Russia's Nikolay Davydenko brushed aside Andy Roddick 6-4 6-4 in the first match of the tournament and will play world number one Rafael Nadal for a place in Saturday's final.
Murray finished 2008 on a high and beat Federer in their epic final group match of the Masters Cup in Shanghai before going out to Davydenko in the semifinals.
The 21-year-old Scot carried on that form as he warmed up for the new ATP season -- achieving a double break of service in each set against a below-par Blake, who is off to Australia for the Hopman Cup which begins on Saturday.
Murray, who wrapped up victory in just under an hour, will be joined at next week's tournament in Doha by Federer and Nadal as the game's elite begin their preparation for the first grand slam of the season at the Australian Open.
World number three Novak Djokovic, who won last year's Australian Open and finished the season by winning the Masters Cup, is skipping the Abu Dhabi exhibition and begins his official ATP campaign in Brisbane next week.
Roddick, who has a new coach in Larry Stefanki, scarcely troubled consistent world number five Davydenko who achieved a single break in each set to earn a match against Spain's Nadal.