Murray bounces back to reach semis
Originally published on: 26/11/10 00:10
Andy Murray joins Roger Federer in Saturday’s semi-final line up at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals after qualifying from Group B with a resounding 6-2 6-2 victory over David Ferrer.
The world No.5, who entered the match needing to win a minimum of six games to secure second place in the group behind Federer, bounced back from an early blip with a seven-game run that secured the first set and passage to the knockouts.
After missing out on the final four by the smallest of margins last year, when Juan Martin del Potro’s three-set victory over Federer saw the Argentine progress by virtue of having won one more game than Murray, Thursday’s results left the group looking far more clear-cut.
But playing his third match in the evening session this year, Murray’s roar as he closed out the first set suggests the Scot knew that was enough to progress this year.
Murray fans might have feared the worst in the early stages as their man slipped 2-0 down to Ferrer, who came into the match with a 3-1 win-loss record against the Scot, having won their most recent meeting in Madrid in May.
But while Murray struggled with his serve throughout, he battled to recover the break and restore parity before he began dictating in the rallies, injecting added venom into his backhand to devastating effect time and again.
Two Ferrer double faults handed Murray a second break, but the Scot made his own luck two games later to secure a third consecutive break of serve, some vintage scrambling and a perfectly judged drop-shot to leave himself serving for the set.
Murray breezed through the second set with both men seemingly knowing their fates, but there were some causes for concern ahead of Saturday’s semi-finals, where Murray is likely to face either Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic.
His first serve percentage failed to rise above 50%, and the manner in which he handed back an early break with a string of unforced errors and had to fend off break points once more in game six suggest his game is not firing on all cylinders just yet.
In the end however, Murray overwhelmed Ferrer to reach the last four in one hour and nine minutes, later admitting that knowing he had qualified after winning the first set did have an impact on the match.
“It does change your mindset a little bit. It’s very easy to say you’ve just got to win the match but when you know what’s at stake, you want to get off to a good start. It’s just very different to anything we’re used to normally.
“You know your opponent needs to get off to a good start to win or go through. He obviously started off a little bit better than me.”
“It was a good match tonight,” he continued. “I played well, returned well. To win against someone as tough as David with that scoreline, I must have played well.
“Last year was tough for me but this year I’ve won two matches against very good players. I’m glad I got through to the semis.”