Murray and Ferrer looking set to meet for third event in succession

Andy Murray.
Andy Murray.
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Andy Murray and David 
Ferrer stayed on course for a semi-final meeting at the Valencia Open with comfortable second-round wins.

Top seed Ferrer was impressive on home soil in a 6-3 6-2 victory over fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, while Murray eased past Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-4.

Murray overtook Ferrer in the race to reach the World Tour Finals in London with victory against his rival in the final in Vienna on Sunday, getting revenge after Ferrer had won their match in Shanghai the previous week.

They will clash for the third time in as many weeks provided Murray defeats Kevin Anderson and Ferrer betters Thomaz Bellucci – both men were given walkovers into the quarter-finals.

Murray made it 15 wins from his last 17 matches in his quest to qualify for the World Tour Finals in London.

The Scot did not face a break point all match and lost only two points on his first serve while breaking his Italian opponent three times.

It was the pair’s first meeting since Fognini defeated Murray in Naples in April to help Italy reach the semi-finals of the Davis Cup.

At that stage he looked a potential top-10 player, but he has made more headlines with his on-court behaviour than his tennis since and went into this tournament on a six-match losing run.

A first-round win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas put a stop to that, but he never looked like troubling Murray.

The Scot had not been at his best in a nevertheless comfortable victory over Jurgen Melzer on Wednesday, perhaps not surprisingly given he played a gruelling final against Ferrer in Vienna on Sunday.

But he was much sharper against Fognini, serving better, hitting his groundstrokes with power and accuracy and taking advantage of his opponent’s errors.

He broke serve immediately and went on to win the first four games. Fognini saved a set point to avoid being broken for a third time, but Murray had no trouble clinching it.

The British No 1 struck again in the fifth game of the second set and holding serve proved enough for Murray to book a date with seventh seed Anderson, whom he beat in the fourth round at Wimbledon this summer as he sought to defend his title.