Murray sails into last four
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:24
Murray lost a pulsating five-setter against the Spaniard in the opening grand slam of the year in Melbourne – the first time Murray had lost to Verdasco in six meetings.
But the Scot returned to winning ways against Verdasco in emphatic style in Miami, casting him aside in just 75 minutes to book a last-four meeting with surprise semi-finalist Juan Martin del Potro.
Del Potro defeated world number one Rafael Nadal in a gruelling three-setter immediately before Murray’s contest, and after the contrasting ease of the Scot’s progress he will surely fancy his chances of reaching the final. Like he did in the previous round against Viktor Troicki, Murray immediately claimed two breaks of serve to race into a 4-0 lead after just 15 minutes on court.
Verdasco responded to the early pressure by throwing caution to the wind, unleashing a couple of heavy winners in Murray’s next service game to go 0-40 ahead. The Scot then double faulted to meekly concede one of his breaks and get Verdasco on the scoreboard for the first time. It would prove to only be a blip for Murray, who was not so much squeezing Verdasco into error but allowing him to make them.
The Spaniard was intent on going for his shots and with Murray content to retrieve balls, Verdasco was proving his own worst enemy as he continually missed the lines. That was none more evident than in his next service game, which he conceded, to hand back the two-break advantage.
At deuce Verdasco went for the corner, only to miss by a foot, and when faced with a break point he could only dump a high smash into the net after Murray had scampered to return a ball he looked second best to get to.
Murray then served out the opening set, after being taken to deuce, when again Verdasco made crucial errors at key stages. This time he clumsily hit a backhand into the net to concede the opening set in just over a half hour.
Verdasco then disappeared off court for a three-minute medical break when the Spaniard would have done well to compose himself. If that was the tactic it failed as he conceded his service straight away although this time it was an anxious push, rather than an ambitious stroke, that flew long to give Murray the break. Verdasco had four chances to break back in the next game, but passed up the chance on each occasion.
Murray’s tenacity was then rewarded as he took the game and Verdasco’s challenge was running on empty as he lost his next service to go 3-0 down. Verdasco again called for a medical time-out after winning the fifth game to make it 4-1, the first time he held serve in the match. The Spaniard cut a dejected figure as the trainer worked on his right hamstring and while he played on it was only a matter of time before Murray clinched the match.