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Andy Murray beats Fernando Verdasco at Wimbledon

2013-07-03 21:31:46

Andy Murray

British number one Andy Murray kept his hopes of winning Wimbledon alive with a dramatic five-set win over Fernando Verdasco on Centre Court.

Murray, the second seed, fought back to beat the Spaniard 4-6 3-6 6-1 6-4 7-5 and reach the semi-finals for the fifth year in a row.

"There's been a lot of matches where I've been behind and managed to turn it round," he told BBC Sport.

"I don't know if it is the most emotional match, but it was an unbelievable atmosphere and great to get through."

The Scot, 26, had looked like joining Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the latest victim of a huge upset, but battled through in three hours and 27 minutes.

He moves on to face 24th seed Jerzy Janowicz in Friday's semi-finals, after the Pole beat his compatriot Lukasz Kubot 7-5 6-4 6-4 on Court One.

Top seed Novak Djokovic made smooth progress in the other half of the draw, beating Tomas Berdych in three sets to earn a semi-final against Juan Martin Del Potro.

Murray can still take advantage of an unexpected path to the final, but he produced an uncertain performance in the face of some big serving and heavy hitting from Verdasco.

The Spaniard, 29, made plenty of errors off his favoured forehand but kept the Scot on the defensive, fending off two break points in the first set with some good serving.

Andy Murray

Murray was increasingly under pressure on his second serve, and in an edgy 10th game it came as no great surprise when he handed over the set with a double fault.

It was a poor start but the threat seemed to have been averted when Murray broke at 1-1 in the second, only for the Briton to give up his advantage with a dreadful sixth game.

Verdasco did superbly to return a smash but Murray should have done better than dump his volley in the net, and backhand and forehand errors followed.

Things got considerably worse when two desperate Murray forehands landed in the net, and Verdasco benefited from an unplayable net cord to break once again, making it five games in a row as he took a two-set lead.

With victory suddenly in sight, the former world number seven faltered and the errors flowed from his forehand, allowing Murray to break in game two and gain some breathing space.

He powered through the set in 31 minutes, his serve starting to crank into gear, and it came to his rescue four times as Verdasco pushed hard for the break in the fourth set.

Murray was clinging on, but he made the decisive move at 3-3 when Verdasco hammered a forehand long, and the crowd erupted as they headed into a fifth.

Tension gripped the spectators and players alike, Murray reacting badly to a camera flash while serving at 4-3 down, but he stayed on terms with the more aggressive Spaniard and finally broke him down at 5-5 in the decider.

A forehand deep into the corner on break point did the damage, and after the drama of the previous three and a half hours, Murray ended the match with a clinical love hold.

"He served unbelievably well, especially when he was behind," said the Briton.

"In the first set he played some really good stuff; in the second set my level dropped and I started rushing a bit but just managed to turn it round.

"He served fantastically well. He's a very, very good player. He's been at the top of the game before and he's playing well again.

"I started to play more solid and really took my time when I had the chance."


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