Storming Murray comeback secures Wimbledon semi place

03 July 2013 / 19:17

Andy Murray produced a stunning comeback to clinch his Wimbledon semi-final place after a five-set edge-of-your-seat thriller at the All England Club.

The British number one had cruised through his first four matches at the Championships but Spain's Fernando Verdasco clearly had little respect for his form or home favourite status.

He raced into a two set lead before the second seed finally rallied, securing a memorable 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 victory in a performance that underlined his grit and character and only increased national expectation.

"He played unbelievably well and I made some poor choices and mistakes," said Murray, who has now won 16 straight matches on grass, following his Olympic gold last year and recent win at Queen's Club.

"He's a very good player, he's been at the top of the game and he's playing like he did a few years ago. I started to play more solidly in the third set and I took my time when I had the chances.

"It's not a warning to me - I know how good these players are. I fought as hard as I could. I came through an incredibly hard match. It could have gone either way.

"The atmosphere was unbelievable, it's great just to get through and I need to rest up now before the semis."

Both players exchanged service games during a closely-fought first set but Murray's second serve has always been the most vulnerable part of his game and Verdasco broke, courtesy of a double fault, to take the opener.

Murray, who hadn't lost a set all championship, looked rattled but hit back early in the second, with a succession of fizzing forehands putting Verdasco under pressure.

But the Scot was also struggling to cope with his rival's consistent and aggressive service game and was losing his cool, turning the rarified air of Centre Court blue as he yelled towards his entourage in search of inspiration.

And the Spaniard quickly took advantage, rallying to win five consecutive games, even saving three break points at 5-3, as Murray tried in vain to muscle back into proceedings.

Verdasco has fallen outside the world's top 50 in recent times but this performance was starting to bring back memories of his epic semi-final defeat to Rafael Nadal at the 2009 Australian Open, which secured him top ten status.

But a combination of Murray's stubbornness, and a sudden crisis of confidence, slowly started to shift momentum and wake up the slightly stunned home support.

As coach Ivan Lendl, a two-time beaten Wimbledon finalist, looked impassively on, Murray reduced arrears to take the third set in just 31 minutes.

And, after surviving some nervous break points, he finally got the better of Verdasco's booming serve in the sixth game of the fourth set, establishing a lead he quickly consolidated and served out at the first opportunity.

The deciding set was predictably edgy and stayed with serve until Murray broke decisively in the 11th game, which he followed with a service game to love that clinched victory in three hours and 27 minutes.

Murray will now take on Jerzy Janowicz after the number 24 seed beat compatriot Lukasz Kubot 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 to become the first male Polish player to reach a Grand Slam semi-final.

Tournament favourite Novak Djokovic progressed through his last eight match with Tomas Berdych 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 and will now play former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, a 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 winner over fourth seed David Ferrer.

© Sportsbeat 2013