Pavel’s pain is Murray’s gain
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:14
Pavel, who has seen his ranking plummet to 1140 following back problems, was in clear discomfort on Rod Laver Arena when he called it a day with Murray 3-1 up in the second set having taken the first 6-2.
The 21-year-old Scot had looked in control when the match was brought to a halt 14 minutes into the second set.
Having overcome some early jitters in the stifling conditions, Murray, who is hoping to become the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win a grand slam singles title, finally found his rhythm. And once he did it was clear there was going to be no repeat of last year’s early exit at the hands of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Murray took Pavel to deuce in the opening game, but a superb winner into the corner coupled with the Scot finding the net on the next point saved the Romanian. Murray comfortably held his serve in the next game and finished off with an ace to tie the score 1-1.
A nice drop shot by Pavel ensured he held his second service game and Murray responded in kind as the Romanian’s unforced errors began to mount and the scores remained locked at 2-2. But the British number one got the breakthrough in the fifth game when after squandering one break point he made no mistake at the second opportunity.
In what was the rally of the set, the Scot was made to scramble back and his shot over the shoulder was enough to bring about the Pavel error to give Murray a 3-2 lead. That quickly became 4-2 as Murray served a love game and he broke Pavel for a second time before serving out the set.
Pavel then called for a medical time out for treatment to his back but then proceeded to take the first game of the second set to love.
Not to be outdone, Murray followed suit as he moved the Romanian around the court forcing him into errors to level the scores 1-1. But it was obvious that Pavel’s back was causing him discomfort and Murray seized on this, pushing his shots to the corner which the Romanian struggled to return.
He was broken again by Murray, who took a 2-1 lead, and the fourth seed had extended that to 3-1 when Pavel retired hurt.