The former Wimbledon runner-up bounced back from a nightmare start to push Murray hard in the decider but the British number one, celebrating his 25th birthday, eventually prevailed 6-1 4-6 7-5 win. There was no hint of the drama to follow when Murray, returning to action after missing last week’s event in Madrid with a back injury, swept through the first set and looked ready for a quick night. But Nalbandian battled back to level the match and went a break up in the decider before his frequent unforced errors began to tell and Murray clawed back to serve out for the match after two hours and 37 minutes. There were no signs in the first set of Murray’s stuttering start to the claycourt season, which apart from his back injury also saw him suffer a shock loss to Milos Raonic in the Barcelona Open last month. Murray broke Nalbandian twice to blaze into a 4-0 lead and after breaking the Argentinian for a third time the Scot served out to take the set, with Nalbandian complaining about glare from the setting sun. Nalbandian looked much stronger from the start of the second set, and both players found their form on serve with no break points for either until Murray served to stay in the set at 4-5 down and was broken. Murray had the first chance in the decider, fashioning two break points on the Nalbandian serve at 1-1, but the Argentinian hung on and went on to break Murray to seize the advantage. But Murray responded by breaking back immediately and grabbed the crucial second break at 5-5, when after spurning his first two of three break points, he only converted the third after the most fortunate of net cords. Nalbandian was not quite finished, going 15-40 up on his opponent’s serve as Murray served for the match, but a backhand drive which clipped the outside of the line helped Murray haul back to deuce before rounding off a gutsy win.
Posts Tagged ‘Andy Murray
The 6ft 5in 21-year-old from Ontario, who crushed sixth seed Nicolas Almagro in the last round, headed into the match having never beaten a top-eight player but rarely looked overawed en route to a 6-4 7-6 (7/3) triumph. He endured a minor blip when serving for the second set, allowing second seed Murray his first break of the match, before breezing through the tie-break to clinch the biggest win of his fledgling career in one hour 44 minutes. Raonic will face third seed David Ferrer or seventh seed Feliciano Lopez in the semi-finals, the Spanish duo meeting in the second quarter-final in Catalonia.
Murray had little difficulty in the last round against Santiago Giraldo, but knew he was in for a battle from the outset today. Raonic’s fierce forehands helped him bring up a break point in the opening game. Murray survived, but two aces from the world number 25 swiftly levelled things up. The first set followed a similar pattern – Murray tested on serve and Raonic holding with ease – until game seven, when a loose drop shot from the Scot resulted in a second break point for the youngster, and this time he capitalised to go 4-3 up. Raonic comfortably held again to move within a game of the set and then, after Murray had dug out the hold with the help of an ace, the Canadian brought up three set points with his ninth ace and duly took the first with a forehand winner. Having managed only four points on the Raonic serve in the first set, Murray looked brighter at the start of the second set, but continued to struggle to make inroads against the serve. The Scot served out to love in game three himself, though, and then took Raonic to deuce in game four before the Canadian pulled through with another huge serve. A superb cross-court winner edged Murray ahead again and again he then troubled the Raonic serve, but could not force the break. Just when the second set looked to be following the same format as the first, Raonic too passed up two break-point opportunities in game seven as Murray squeezed 4-3 ahead. But, after powering through another strong service game, Raonic broke Murray to give himself the chance to serve for the match and claim the biggest scalp of his career. Murray showed his battling qualities by breaking back, though, before two clinical service games took the match into a tie-break. However, if the Scot thought nerves were getting to Raonic, he was sadly mistaken. He cruised into a 5-1 lead and, although Murray engineered a chink of light by taking his two points on serve, there was no way back.
Andy Murray saw his Monte Carlo Masters challenge end at the quarter-final stage following a long tussle with sixth seed Tomas Berdych. The Scot took the first set on a tie-break, but was unable to build on his lead as his Czech opponent hit back for a 6-7 (4/7) 6-2 6-3 victory after nearly three hours on court. Berdych will now face either world number one Novak Djokovic or Robin Haase in the semi-finals.
Murray and Berdych had met just once before on clay in five previous meetings, with the latter securing a convincing win at the 2010 French Open. There was little to separate the two players early in the opening set in Monte Carlo, but Murray’s second serve then began to let him down and Berdych found himself with the first break points of the match in the eighth game. Murray saved the first with a drop shot, before Berdych wasted the next two with a forehand and a backhand into the net. The Scot then faced five more break points in game 12 as Berdych looked to claim the set, but the Czech failed to take any of them and a tie-break ensued. This time it was Murray who had the mini-break to open up a 6-2 lead. And the third seed gained the advantage on his third set point with Berdych hitting a return long. Berdych came back strongly at the start of the second set, though, and finally claimed his first break of the match in the third game when Murray put a weak forehand into the net. And a further break followed for the Czech four games later, when another poor shot from Murray gifted Berdych a 5-2 lead before he served out his next service game to level the match. Murray was looking slightly deflated now, and it was no surprise when his opponent broke again in the opening game of the third set. The third seed responded by gaining his first break point of the match in the next game and a wide forehand from Berdych levelled things up. But Murray’s serve continued to let him down and his Czech opponent got his nose in front once more in the third game following another error from the Briton. Murray fought hard to get back into the contest, but his confidence appeared to be down and Berdych wrapped up another break, and the match, with a winning forehand down the line.
Berdych told Sky Sports 1 afterwards: “It was another tough but really good match. “It’s tough to say what was key. I’m trying to play my game, trying to play aggressive. That’s key for my game and if it’s working I have the game to beat anybody, even Andy. “The win over Andy gives me a lot of confidence for the next match.”
World no.1 captured his 11th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title and 30th career trophy when he beat no.4 seed Andy Murray 6-1, 7-6(4) in 2 hours and 17 minutes on a hot Sunday afternoon. Nole dominated the first set breaking Murray in the fourth and sixth games for 6-1. The second set went to a tie-breaker, Nole won it 7-4 to become just the third male to lift three trophies in Miami (Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras). Djokovic has not dropped a set at Crandon Park. En route to the final, he beat Marcos Baghdatis, Viktor Troicki, Richard Gasquet , David Ferrer and Juan Monaco. Novak is now 3-1 in Miami finals. He defeated Canas in 2007 and Nadal in 2011, and lost to Murray in 2009. Match statistics: aces (5-3), double faults (1-3), winners (19-16), unforced errors (38-39), total points won (86-70).
“Any title is big, and it means a lot,” said Nole. “I’ve won three times here. I think that says enough about how I feel playing in Miami. I love the crowd… I have been really playing well in the last couple of years here, so this is going to be very encouraging for me prior to the clay-court season.” The 24-year-old Serbian star will open clay season at Monte Carlo Rolex Masters. The first of three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events played on clay will be held from April 15 to April 22 at the Monte-Carlo Country Club.
Rafael Nadal won an Open Era record seventh successive title there last year.
In contrast to Murray, who advanced without playing a shot as Rafael Nadal withdrew through injury, what looked like being a simple outing for Djokovic turned into something more taxing as Monaco battled back in the second set. The first set could barely have been simpler for Djokovic as he dropped only eight points. And though Monaco upped his game in the second set, making life uncomfortable for the top seed, Djokovic seemed to be on his way to a straightforward win as he served for the match at 5-4. But, just as David Ferrer did, Monaco broke back and took the set into a tie-break. It only delayed the inevitable, though, as the defending champion sealed his progress on his second match point. “As I did yesterday in the quarter-finals, I started very strong, just going for the shots, being very aggressive,” Djokovic told the ATP Tour website. “Then I just wasn’t able to close it out. “It was a very similar match to the one against Ferrer. “It was [an] exciting match I think for us to play and for the crowd. I didn’t expect an easy match and [I’m] just happy to be through.”
Nadal, meanwhile, revealed he pulled out of his semi-final against Murray because he did not want to “lie to everybody”. The world number two fell foul of his long-suffering knees in Miami, this time his left one, handing Murray a free pass. Nadal still opted to face the media, though, and admitted he made the decision, albeit just two hours prior to the start of the match, in the interests of honesty. “I waited until today in the morning. I did a lot of treatment yesterday,” he told www.atpworldtour.com. “But I am not ready to compete today. I am very sorry for the fans. I’m very sorry for the tournament. I’m very sorry for everybody who was ready to watch the match on television. I cannot go on court and lie to everybody.” Murray was disappointed not to be able to put his game plan, worked out with coach Ivan Lendl, to the test. “Every time you play against one of the top guys in the world, it’s always a good opportunity to see where your game’s at,” he was quoted as saying on telegraph.co.uk. “I have been working with Ivan now for a couple of months, on certain tactics that would work against Rafa, Novak and Roger [Federer]. “It would have been nice to see whether or not those things were working.”
Murray will get the chance to try out some of those tactics as he faces Djokovic for the third time this season in Sunday’s final. Djokovic beat the Scot in five sets in the Australian Open semi-final on his way to claiming the Melbourne crown, but Murray got some revenge at the same stage in Dubai.
Andy Murray suffered a surprise early exit from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Saturday night at the hands of world number 92 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The British number one, who received a bye in the first round of the first Masters 1000 tournament of the year, headed into his second-round clash having not lost a set in his previous two encounters with the Spaniard. But Garcia-Lopez produced one of the best performances of his career to stun the world number four 6-4 6-2 to advance to a third-round meeting with American teenager Ryan Harrison. Murray, who crashed out of the event at the same stage last year to American qualifier Donald Young, had numerous chances to break his opponent in the first set – notably from 0-40 – but could not capitalise. Having kept his nerve to keep the match on serve, the first break finally arrived in game nine and went in Garcia-Lopez’s favour, the Spaniard making the Briton pay for several sloppy forehands. Garcia-Lopez closed out the first set and Murray cut a frustrated figure at the start of the second, particularly after losing his opening service game. Murray must have sensed a turning point when he saved four break points and held serve in game three to get back to 2-1. But, unconcerned by failing to establish a double-break cushion, the 28-year-old from La Roda continued to play positive tennis and make Murray work hard just to stay in contention, his single-handed backhand troubling the Scot throughout. And any hopes Murray harboured of getting back into the match were well and truly extinguished in game seven when a forehand into the net saw Garcia-Lopez break serve again to go 5-2 up. He duly closed out the match against his shellshocked opponent, setting up a third-round meeting with Harrison following the 19-year-old American’s 7-6 (7/5) 6-3 victory over 25th-seeded Serbian Viktor Troicki. Murray was baffled by his performance.
“I have to go away and think about what happened “I played great in practice, was hitting the ball really well. I felt pretty fresh. “I didn’t move my best tonight, but it didn’t feel like I was moving really badly. He hardly missed the ball the whole match. He was playing with a lot of spin. “It almost felt like playing the match on a clay court. I wasn’t able to hit through the court and I squandered so many chances.” Murray insists he is in good condition. “In comparison to how I felt coming in here last year, it was night and day,” he said. “I was feeling way more focused and confident, so I’m not sure exactly why that happened tonight. “I wasn’t able to hit through the court and I squandered so many chances.”
The 30-year-old, with 16 Grand Slam titles to his name, triumphed 7-5 6-4 in one hour and 30 minutes to claim his fifth Dubai title and 72nd in all. Federer dropped serve for the only time all week as Murray fought back in the second set, but the Swiss held firm. “Winning is the best, it solves everything,” said Federer.
After taking his winning streak to 10 matches on the back of titles in Rotterdam and now Dubai, he added: “I’m really happy, it went so well.” Federer had looked impregnable on serve all week, coming through a tight semi-final in two tie-breaks against Juan Martin del Potro on Friday after Murray’s defeat of world number Novak Djokovic had grabbed the headlines. The Briton, who had served impressively himself in defeating Djokovic, fashioned the first opportunity in the final when he earned two break points in game six. However, a loose backhand error followed by a netted forehand under pressure saw the moment pass, and Murray would regret that fleeting opportunity when Federer made the breakthrough at 5-5. The 24-year-old Scot fought back valiantly from 0-40 and saw Federer blaze a forehand wide on his fourth break point, but the Swiss made no mistake when presented with a fifth chance as a heavy backhand proved too much for Murray at the net.
Murray looked flat in comparison with Friday’s semi-final and was not helping himself with a first-serve percentage that rarely moved above 50%, allowing Federer to attack his second serve.
Roger Federer powered to a 12th consecutive victory over Mikhail Youzhny, a result which seals the four-time champion’s place in the semi-finals of the Dubai Championships. The Swiss world No 3, who has not won the ATP 500 event since 2007, moved within two wins of a fifth title after posting an impressive 6-3 6-4 victory over the Russian. A solitary break of serve in each set was good enough for Federer, who improved his head-to-head record over Youzhny to a remarkable 12-0 without fending off a single break point. Speaking after the win, Federer said: “I thought Mikhail was making a lot of chances. It just didn’t go his way. “I just played well on my service games and I think the speed of the courts here helps with that. “I think I also have a good focus this week. So I have to keep it up if I want to win the title.”
Federer will face eighth seed Juan Martin del Potro in the last four after the Argentinian defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 6-2. Del Potro defeated Tsonga on his way to the Open 13 title in Marseille last week and had little trouble completing a second win in quick succession against the Frenchman. Although the first set was a closely-fought affair, Del Potro was clearly a class above in the second and eventually eased to a comfortable win. Del Potro holds a 2-9 mark versus Federer, having lost their past three meetings. “All the matches are different, all tournaments are different, [so] I’m trying to find a way to beat again him,” del Potro said. “His game is really difficult for me. He plays slices, dropshots, and he’s one of the best in history. So I just want to be ready for fight and to see how I’m going to play against him.”
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic recorded a first straight-sets victory over good friend Janko Tipsarevic to book a last-four date with Briton Andy Murray, who put out Tomas Berdych. The world No 1 won the all-Serbian quarter-final 6-1 7-6 (8-6). The Serb powered his way through the opening set before staving off a set point to edge Jankovic, who coughed up two double faults, in the tie-breaker. “I thought I started really well,” Djokovic told the ATP Tour website. “He was missing first serves, didn’t have a high percentage. “Then in the second set, whenever I had a break ball he served well. So he was very close to take that second set. Then who knows what could have happened. We both got a little bit nervous towards the end, I guess, and it was just luck to prevail.” As for his clash with Murray, he said: “Every time you play, especially top four, it’s a big challenge for both of us. “Especially after that Australian Open thrilling match that lasted for five hours. It’s going to be a good match. We both look forward to that. We always try to win against each other and it’s a great rivalry.”
Novak Djokovic took 90 minutes to book his place in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships on a day when seven of the eight top seeds all successfully advanced. Djokovic recovered from a break down in the second set to beat Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 and seal a last-eight showdown against his friend and fellow Serbian Janko Tipsarevic. Tipsarevic, seeded seven, shrugged off a below-par first set to beat Italy’s world number 86 Flavio Cipolla 6-7 (7-2) 6-1 6-1, and Djokovic expects a much tougher match against his Davis Cup team-mate. Djokovic told atptour.com: “[Janko] is very dangerous from the baseline. When he has time and steps into the court, he is very dangerous. I need to try to be aggressive and stay close to the line.”
The only top eight seed to fail to reach the quarter-finals was American sixth seed Mardy Fish, whose disappointing recent form continued as he was beaten 6-2 7-6 (7-0) by Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny. Next up for Youzhny is second seed Roger Federer, who swept past Feliciano Lopez of Spain 7-5 6-3 and said: “I stayed calm and found a way to come through. These are the kinds of matches you need at this stage in a tournament.”
Third seed Andy Murray had few problems dispatching Swiss qualifier Marco Chiudinelli 6-3 6-4. Murray did not face a single break point in the match and broke his opponent twice to ensure a routine progression. Murray’s next opponent, Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych, enjoyed an even more comfortable run to the last eight with a 6-1 6-2 win over Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko in just 69 minutes.
The final quarter-final will be between in-form Juan Martin Del Potro, who beat qualifier Andrey Golubev 6-4 6-2, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who was a 6-3 6-4 winner over Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic.
Andy Murray pushed Novak Djokovic to the limit of his powers but went down in five sets to miss out on a place in the Australian Open final. The British number one fought back from losing the first set to win the next two, and from 5-2 in the decider. But defending champion Djokovic raised his level to battle through 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 7-5 in four hours 50 minutes. The world number one, who beat Murray in the 2011 final, plays Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s showpiece at 0830 GMT. “I’m extremely delighted to be in another final,” said Djokovic, who looked exhausted when Murray led 2-1. “It was a physical match. Andy deserves credit for coming back. He was fighting, I was fighting. “It was one of the best matches I’ve played.”
Murray becomes the fist man in the Open Era to be eliminated in semi-finals at four successive Grand Slams. But he can take heart from one of the best performances of his career so far, just a few weeks into his partnership with new coach Ivan Lendl.