Revved up Murray motors on into the semis

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Photo courtesy of www.ziarelive.ro

David Ferrer, playing in his first Wimbledon quarter-final, was leading Andy Murray (Mandy), making his fourth consecutive appearance at this stage of the tournament, by a set and a break and about to serve for a commanding two sets to love lead.

And it was a lead that few had predicted. True, Ferrer had got the better of Mandy at the same stage of the French Open four weeks ago but that was on clay, and yes, their head to head is even at 5-5, but four of those Ferrer victories had come on Clay while Andy Murray, the superior fast court player, had won all his matches on hard courts. And while the center court is a little slower in the second week, it is still grass and rewards those with the skills to play on this dying surface.

Mandy was the heavy favorite on a surface that rewards his slice and his variety of shot. But Mandy had come out playing his passive pushing worst and Ferrer had come out the more aggressive, ripping into Mandy’s second serve and relentlessly running down every ball.

Then, serving for the set, Ferrer did what Mandy had been pushing for. He played a nervous game and dropped his serve. Ferrer’s mind had done what Mandy had failed to do, beaten him. Ferrer, though bruised, did not buckle completely. The two found themselves in another tiebreak with Murray coming back from a mini break down and finishing the tiebreak with a forehand winner in the middle of the court and a service winner to take the set and then rode the momentum to win the third set 6-4 to grab a two set to one lead.

Seemingly comfortably ahead, Mandy, as he is wont to do when frontrunning, began to play better more attacking tennis, saving break points at 3-4 15-40 with a backhand volley and then shot down a 131mph serve out wide which he followed in to volley the floater. The fans cheered to see him playing so proactively, all too aware, as Andy is too, that only this kind of play is going to see him lift the title.

In the fourth set break, Mandy took charge, hitting a backhand down the line winner, moving forward to put pressure on Ferrer who netted the passing shot, hitting a forehand down the line winner and pounding down three aces to hit his way through to a semi-final where he will play the aggressive and powerful Tsonga against whom he has a 5-1 head to head lead. Nevertheless he needs to assert himself from the beginning against an in-form opponent who if he has an ‘on’ day could blow Mandy away. Mandy has to move forward and serve well, staying close to Tsonga who will serve big and come in, and then take his chances on the return if he is to have any chance of breaking his Wimbledon semi-final duck.

In the other semis, Federer and Novak thrashed Youhzny and Mayer respectively while Tsonga squeezed past Kohlschreiber in four on a day that did little to support Gilles Simon’s comment earlier this tournament that the women did not deserve equal prize money.

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