Murray on course for world no.2 spot

Andy Murray has the chance to climb to the world no.2 spot with victory in Miami

Story highlights

  • Andy Murray reaches Miami Masters last four with win over Marin Cilic
  • Murray can pass Federer as world no. 2 if he wins Miami title
  • Maria Sharapova reaches fifth Miami final in the women's event
  • Sharapova is aiming for rare Indian Wells and Miami double

Andy Murray edged closer to taking the world no. 2 spot from Roger Federer as he reached the semi-finals of the Miami Masters in Florida.

Victory in this week's Key Biscayne tournament will lift the British U.S. Open champion above the Swiss 17-time grand slam winner in the 2013 global rankings.

Murray reached the last four with a 6-4 6-3 win over Croatian Marin Cilic that was fought out in hot conditions.

"I thought it was a pretty good match," said Murray -- who won the Miami title in 2009 but lost last season's final to world no. 1 Novak Djokovic -- on court after the match.

"Every time I was broken, I broke back straight away. I hit the ball well and used good variation. It was hot today, there were some long points. It was a tough match and I'm glad I came through it in the end in two sets."

Murray, who began his professional career in 2003 ranked no. 779 in the world, last held the no.2 spot for three weeks in 2009.

World ranking is important as it helps decide a player's seeding and their place in the draw for the second grand slam of the year, the French Open which begins on 26 May.

But Murray insisted after his victory over Cilic that regaining the no.2 ranking was not his main priority.

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"Winning matches is my goal, by doing that the rankings take care of themselves," said the 25-year-old Scot.

"I could add extra tournaments to my schedule to try and get to no. 2 but I want to stick to the schedule that I've got and hopefully move up the rankings if I can."

Murray will now face either Frenchman Richard Gasquet or Czech fourth seed Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals.

Federer -- the man Murray is hoping to eclipse in the world rankings -- as well as Spanish star Rafael Nadal, who won the Indian Wells title on his comeback from injury, have both chosen not to play at the Miami Masters.

Defending champion Djokovic was knocked out in the fourth round by Tommy Haas as the German became just the second player to defeat the Serbian in an ATP Tour event.

In the women's event, Maria Sharapova stayed on course for her first Miami title as she swept aside Jelena Jankovic to reach the final.

The Russian, who moved to Miami as a child, took just over an hour to see off the Serbian former world number one 6-2 6-1 at the Key Biscayne tournament

It was the 11th straight win for Sharapova, who picked up her first title of 2013 at Indian Wells earlier this month by defeating Dane Caroline Wozniacki.

Not only is Sharapova trying to capture her first title in Miami, she also wants to follow German Steffi Graf and Kim Clijsters of Belgium as only the third player in the women's game to win both major march events at Indian Wells and Miami in the same year.

The effort to win two back-to-back hard-court tournaments is huge but Sharapova proved against Jankovic that she can raise her game when it counts.

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"I thought I needed to step it up a lot from my last match," the 25-year-old, who battled into the semi-finals with a narrow win over Italian Sara Errani, told reporters.

"I had a very tough opponent and I had to play much better. I was very happy at the way I was able to focus.

"Winning a title whether it is here or Indian Wells is a great achievement on its own but [both] would be nice."

There is still one hurdle to face, however. The four time grand slam champion has been in the Florida final four times, losing on each occasion.

This time she will face either U.S. world No. 1 Serena Williams or Polish defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska for the coveted crown.

Radwanska ended Sharapova's Miami hopes last season while the Russian has also lost to Victoria Azarenka (2011), Svetlana Kuznetsova (2006) and Clijsters (2005).

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