Wimbledon: Andy Murray advances to semi-finals after beating Fernando Verdasco in five sets
Last Updated: 03/07/13 9:07pm
Andy Murray survived a thrilling Centre Court duel with Fernando Verdasco to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals, coming from two sets down to beat the Spaniard 4-6 3-6 6-1 6-4 7-5.
The Scot's SW19 dreams looked in real danger of being dashed as he struggled to find his best form in the opening two sets, but the British No.1 retained his composure to fight back and eventually outlast his left-handed opponent.
It was Murray who had the early chances to break in the first set but he saw Verdasco save break point in the third game with a booming serve and then sent a scrambled lob long when another opportunity presented itself in the ninth.
It was to prove costly as he went on to cough up an untimely double-fault when break point down and serving to stay in the set, allowing Verdasco to edge ahead on the scoreboard.
Murray responded by claiming an early break in the second when Verdasco missed a regulation forehand, but the Scot handed back the break with two poor points, netting a simple volley and blazing a forehand over the baseline.
Suddenly the match had turned again, and it was to get even worse for Murray as he was broken for the second straight time, Verdasco getting the benefit of a lucky net cord as his backhand dropped just over for a 5-3 lead.
With Verdasco serving for a two-set lead Murray brought up three break back points following a quite titanic point which he won with a superb angled forehand pass, but the Spaniard saved all three and then took his first set point when the second seed sent a backhand long.
Murray looked disbelieving as he gave himself a stern talking to whilst sat in his chair, but he again responded positively and broke early in the third to quickly establish a 3-0 lead.
Although Verdasco produced another big serve to avoid falling 4-0 behind, Murray did secure the double-break two games later following a cracking forehand and duly served out for the set to reduce the deficit.
Although momentum seemed to be on his side, the Scot was forced to fend off a break point in the second game of the fourth set and the partisan Centre Court crowd held their breath again as he survived two more in the fifth.
Having come through those crises Murray then turned aggressor and, having arrowed a backhand down the line to bring up break point in the next, saw Verdasco overcook a forehand which allowed him to serve out and level the contest.
A nail-biting decider ensued with both men refusing to blink on serve through ten tense, gripping games, but that would change in the 11th as Murray first got the better of a memorable 20-stroke rally to bring up break point, before converting as he forced a forehand error from his rival.
It was to prove a decisive move as he served out in style, securing a love game, victory and a semi-final showdown with Jerzy Janowicz when Verdasco sent a backhand long.