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Stunning fightback from Murray

Andy Murray dug into his memory bank as he conjured up another great escape to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals.

Staff Reporter
3 July 2013, 12:00am


The second seed fought back from two sets down for the seventh time in his grand slam career to beat Spain's Fernando Verdasco 4-6 3-6 6-1 6-4 7-5 on a raucous Centre Court.

The fourth and fifth sets were extremely tense, with Verdasco in contention right up until Murray broke serve for 6-5 to leave himself serving for the match.

The Scot, who will meet giant Pole Jerzy Janowicz in the last four on Friday, felt his previous experience of extricating himself from such situations had played a part.

He said: "If you've never done it before, you don't know exactly what it takes and how to turn it round.

"The more times you're in those positions and the more times you can come back, you understand the way you need to think and the way you need to negotiate your way through the last few sets. I did a good job with that.

"Sometimes it can be easy to get back to two sets all. The final set, often the guy who won the first two comes back and wins that one.

"It's normally the toughest set of the three to win. I was expecting it to be tough and hung in well."

Murray played poorly in the second set and admitted he feared he was on the way out.

He said: "You're obviously concerned. You're more concerned about losing the match, not thinking so much that I'm going to lose at Wimbledon.

"I definitely didn't rush when I went two sets to love down. I slowed myself down, if anything, and that was a good sign."

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who sat at courtside for Murray's US Open triumph, was today watching on from the Royal Box, and his fellow Scot put him through the mill once again.

Verdasco is ranked only 54th, although he has been much higher, which makes him just the ninth best player in Spain.

Their history suggest it could be one-sided. Murray had won eight of their previous nine matches and was a huge favourite to reach a fifth consecutive Wimbledon semi-final.

It soon became clear, though, it would not be in any way straightforward.

Verdasco has a big serve and forehand, and he was having a lot of success whenever Murray missed his first serve.

That seemed to be on the Scot's mind when he found himself facing a set point in the 10th game, and he overcooked his second serve.

Murray looked to have put his early problems behind him when he broke and led 3-1 in the second set but his level dropped and Verdasco won five games in a row to take it.

Murray made a concerted effort to retrieve the break, winning a point with spectacular defence that had Ferguson on his feet, but it was not enough and he screamed at himself as he sat in his chair.

The Scot swiftly pulled one set back but the fourth and fifth were full of tension, with both men playing well.

Murray really had to dig in, saving four break points in the fourth set, and he got his reward when he broke for 4-3.

The decider could have swung either way but it was Murray who gained the crucial advantage to clinch victory after three hours and 26 minutes.

The 26-year-old denied tension was a factor in his second-set slump, saying: "I didn't think I started the match nervously.

"I thought I started the match well. I played a good first set. I created quite a few chances on his serve.

"I maybe didn't play the best game when I got broken, but he also did come up with some good stuff.

"But in the second set, again, I was up 3-1. I wasn't nervous a set down and 3-1 up.

"I just started making mental errors, made some bad mistakes. That was it."

Verdasco was the first left-hander Murray had faced all year.

"Once I was able to get into the rallies and return a bit better, I was able to sort of take away the power of his forehand," Murray said.

"But when he was serving well he could serve and dictate the points with his forehand. When he's doing that, he's incredibly tough to beat."

Murray had not dropped a set during the tournament prior to today and the Centre Court crowd rose to the occasion when their man needed them.

The noise peaked in the fifth set, and Murray said: "I love it when it's like that.

"It was extremely noisy. They were right into it pretty much every single point. That's what you remember."

Murray, meanwhile, laughed off suggestions he could have become a victim of the so-called 'Curse of Cameron' after receiving a good luck Tweet from David Cameron today.

The Prime Minister was present at a number of British sporting disappointments during the Olympics last summer and sent Laura Robson a message before her defeat by Kaia Kanepi on Monday.

Murray said: "It's nice to get messages from the Prime Minister but, whether I win or not, his Tweet has no bearing on that at all. That's just people trying to make a story out of nothing."

It was a tough loss for Verdasco, who felt the British crowd proved the difference in pulling Murray through.

The 29-year-old said: "I think it's clear that the crowd helped him today.

"It's the same everywhere you go or whatever sport you are playing in, if you have home advantage, it gives you another five to 10 percent."

Verdasco added: "I was playing well, but the key was the fourth set."
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