Murray digs deep to reach semi-finals
Originally published on: 03/07/13 00:00
The world No.2 was forced to dig deep to claim a 4-6 3-6 6-1 6-4 7-5 victory after a brave display by the world No.54.
Verdasco, a former top ten player, took advantage of some nervy tennis from the home favourite as he stormed to a two-set lead on Centre Court.
A double fault from Murray handed Verdasco the opening set, and the Scot failed to hold onto an early break in the second as he was stretched by some hammering forehands from Verdasco.
Urged on by the crowd, Murray bounced back to race through the third set, and with the momentum firmly in his favour, broke midway through the fourth set to force a decider.
However, Verdasco, who had beaten Murray just once in nine previous meetings, triumphing in a five-set thriller in the fourth round of the Australian Open in 2009, refused to lie down.
Playing with real freedom, some impressive serving saw him continue to keep the pressure on Murray. Battling back from 0-30 down to move to 4-4 appeared to be the turning point for Murray, and after a breathtaking rally in the 11th game, Murray finally made the breakthrough before coolly serving out the match to reach his fifth consecutive Wimbledon semi-final.
"I gave too many free points away in the second set," Murray admitted. "I thought the first set was a good standard and we both played some good tennis in that first set. He came up with some good shots in the last game of the set. But the second set I was making way too many mistakes.
"[But] I thought about what I was doing wrong and the best way to get myself to get back into the match. I changed tactics a little bit. I was more patient and took a bit longer between points. I didn't rush and didn't get him any free points after that."
He added: "I'm happy to be in the semis. Regardless of whether it's been five sets or the first matches were in three sets, it makes no difference."
Standing between Murray and a place in the final is the 6ft 8in Jerzy Janowicz, who triumphed in an all-Polish battle, beating compatriot Lukasz Kubot 7-5 6-4 6-4.
The 22-year-old, who shared an emotional embrace and swapped shirts with Kubot at the end of their match, is the youngest Wimbledon semi-finalist since his next opponent, Murray, in 2009.
"It will be a very tough match – he has a big serve," Murray said of his semi-final opponent. "He's a big guy with a lot of power. He also has pretty good touch – he likes to hit dropshots. He doesn't just whack every single shot as hard as he can.
"He's played extremely well here, I think. He had a tough match in the last round against [Jurgen] Melzer, but apart from that he's been pretty convincing. He's a tough player."
Not familiar with Jerzy Janowicz? Find out more about the entertaining 22-year-old here.