Who is this Andy Murray? This Andy Murray impostor got better and better as the play tightened. This Andy Murray did not go and hide, or sulk or lose his cool. This Andy Murray brought his game and elevated it as Spain’s number two David Ferrer applied relentless pressure.
This was not the old Andy Murray who lost to Marin Cilic at the U.S. Open in 2009, then to Tomaz Berdych in Paris last season and then to Stanislaus Wawrinka at the 2010 US Open. This guy looks like the complete package.
Granted there were some anxious moments in the 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1, 7-6 (2) three hour fifty minute hotly contested semifinal round. Andy Murray was a favorite against the gritty Spaniard who had won 3 of their 5 prior matches. Analysts expected that Murray would take control of the match and win or lose depending upon his ability to jump on Ferrer’s second serve.
There are very few players that can outrun the fleet Spaniard. Murray is one of them. Still euphoric over his Nadal win, David Ferrer charged from the locker room and asserted unexpected offense. His forehand was landing deep in both corners and he made very few backhand errors.
Murray earned the first break to lead 4-3 but David Ferrer had a strategy. He continued to press the net and Murray returned the favor by serving a loose game. After Ferrer held, Murray again served with the weight of his favored status squarely on his racquet.
This appeared to be a match that would be won in the trenches, a place where Murray tends to dissolve. Not this time. In the second set, Murray who had only charged the net three times in the first set, began to take control. At 2-3, he survived three break points and the disappointed Spaniard began to miss his first serve, landing just 20 percent in the set.
Murray gained a break and was serving for the set, when nerves seemed to rattle the Scotsman. He failed to hold at 6-5 but steamrolled through the tiebreaker, one of Ferrer’s statistical blemishes. In his career, Ferrer has won less than fifty percent of his tiebreakers. This statistic gave Murray confidence and put Ferrer on his guard. Indeed, Murray charged to a 6-0 lead while Ferrer was relegated to trying not to lose rather than playing to win.
Murray rode that wave of success through the third set, where Ferrer barely resisted. Now the Scot was landing deadly drop shots and following his first serve to the net. He kept Ferrer pinned in the backhand corner and looked to have solved the Ferrer riddle.
This Spaniard was not finished. He fought off three break points en route to the tiebreaker. Both players showed signs of weariness but only Murray has the number one Dane, Caroline Wozniacki in his box. After exchanging mini-breaks, Murray went on a tear, keeping Ferrer pinned deep behind the baseline.
After the win, Murray praised Ferrer’s grittiness and fitness. Some of Murray’s statistics may give his final round opponent, Novak Djokovic, cause form hope. Murray only won 37 percent of his second serves and Ferrer is not blessed with Djokovic’s power. The Scot committed 63 unforced errors and struck 60 outright winners, including 9 aces.
The Men’s final is schedule for Sunday afternoon in Australia.
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