Murray edged out
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:56
Following the Scot’s win over Fernando Verdasco on Thursday afternoon, the only scenario that could see Murray miss out was a Del Potro win in three sets.
That would then see the three players tied on match wins and sets won and lost, with the semi-finalists decided on percentage of games won. And it all came down to one game, with Federer winning the group and Del Potro pipping Murray courtesy of his 45 games won to 43 lost, while the Scot’s record read 44-43.
The world number five was immediately on the offensive against the man he beat to win the US Open title in September, and he raced into a 4-1 first set lead, breaking Federer’s serve twice in the process.
Del Potro, watched by friend and Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez, did not falter serving for the set, clinching it when another big serve drew the error from his shellshocked opponent, who knew a straight-sets defeat would end his semi-final hopes.
There was no let-up from the 21-year-old Argentinian, and he took the second set to a tie-break without giving Federer even a sniff of a break point.
He gained the first mini-break with a superb pass but Federer was not finished, powering a forehand winner of his own. Del Potro forged ahead again, leaving him two serves for a stunning win, but for the first time he tightened up, netting on both, and Federer duly stole the set, leaping with delight as he raced back to his chair.
Del Potro sat with his head in his hands at the change of ends, knowing what a chance he had let slip through his fingers, but he did not carry the disappointment into the decider and opened up with a love game. Federer was still some way short of his best, particularly on his returns, but an opening finally arrived on the Del Potro serve at 3-3.
Three break points came and went, though, the last saved by a 112mph second serve. Had Federer broken that would have sent Murray through at the expense of Del Potro, but it was about to get much worse for the British number one as a terrible game from Federer gifted a break to his opponent.
Suddenly the world number five needed only to serve out the match to reach the last four, and he did just that, completing the victory with an ace.