March 4 (UPI) -- World No. 1 Andy Murray cruised into the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships at United Arab Emirates.
The Scot won 7-5, 6-1 victory in dominating fashion over No. 7 seed Lucas Pouille of France on Friday.
Murray, returing to the Dubai final since 2012, is seeking his first ATP World Tour title of the season in his third tournament appearance.
Murray and Pouille both endured prolonged quarterfinal contests, with Murray saving a career-high seven match points to edge past Philipp Kohlschreiber on Thursday.
Murray built a 3-0 lead in the first set but Pouille was able to claim four successive games. Murray struck the decisive break at 5-5 before winning seven straight games.
"It was tough. I don't think it was the best match, but there was some good stuff in there, middle and towards the end of the first set," Murray said after the match. "I think potentially matches yesterday had something to do with that, because I think sometimes, if your legs are a little bit tired, that the serve is one of the first things that goes.
"As the match went on, I started serving a bit better and that helped me. The first set was very important to win after how the matches went yesterday."
Murray, through to his seventh final in his previous eight tournaments, holds a 12-1 head-to-head advantage against his opponent in Saturday's final.
"Obviously this week he's had some good wins," Murrry said of Verdasco. "I think where the balls are fairly heavy here on a quick court, he can generate a lot of power, he can control the ball. And when he's dictating the points, he's one of the best in the world at doing that."
Verdasco, No. 35 in the world, clinched a place in his first Dubai final.
"I fought and stayed mentally strong after losing the second set," Verdasco said. "I started to push a little harder, going through the ball instead of going back, trying to be more aggressive, to play on top of the baseline or trying to be even inside the court.
"It was a really tough match. I needed to be there until the last point, and I think that game at 4-1 (third set), recovering break points, gave me a push of confidence and energy. Near the end I just played unbelievable. I'm really happy to be in the final, and will try to recover and to be as ready as possible for tomorrow."