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Murray plays Federer in Indian Wells semis

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(CNN) -- Roger Federer and Andy Murray will renew their rivalry in the semifinals of the Masters Series event in California after both secured straight sets victories on Thursday.

World number two Federer is bidding for a fourth title at Indian Wells.

World number two Federer is bidding for a fourth title at Indian Wells.

Federer saw off the dangerous challenge of Fernando Verdasco 6-3 7-6 while British number one Murray scrambled past Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia 7-5 7-6.

Murray, whose only loss on the court this season came against Verdasco at the Australian Open, was pushed all the way by Ljubicic, the oldest man in the draw.

He gained an early break against the hard-hitting veteran, but lost his own service as Ljubicic leveled for 3-3.

Games went with service in difficult and windy conditions at Indian Wells until Murray broke through again as Ljubicic made a series of errors on his own service at 5-5, with the world number four serving out of the set.

The second was also close and went with serve before a controversial incident in the ninth game.

Ljubicic, serving at deuce, was unhappy when Murray called a shot in and saw the Hawk-Eye replay support his claim.

The Croat was convinced the ball was out and appeared to find support from the chair umpire, who could not overrule the technology.

Ljubicic dropped his service but angrily broke back as Murray served for the match and forced a tiebreaker.

Ljubicic stayed a constant menace but Murray pulled away to take it 8-6 and the match.

"I thought I did well," he told Sky Sports.

"At the end of each set, I started to make more returns. I served very well in the tie-break at the end; I didn't serve huge the whole time but didn't give any opportunities away on the second serve."

Federer stayed on course for his 58th career title and fourth at Indian Wells as he dispatched Verdasco in one hour and 32 minutes.

The Swiss star claimed the first set when Verdasco double faulted in the ninth game to drop his service.

He led 4-1 in the second set before Verdasco rallied and forced a tiebreaker where Federer was always in control and won on his third match point.

Federer told the official ATP Web site that the Spaniard was a tough opponent and proved it by taking a 6-5 lead in the second set.

"Because he's got such big shots, especially his forehand, he can put you under pressure quickly. I think he knew that was his last chance that he had to play well and not make mistakes, and he was able to deliver.

"I got lucky to get back into the match. I played a good breaker, so good luck I snuck out of it. But I hung in there and I put him under pressure early on so I did have a chance."

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