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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 February 2007, 23:05 GMT
Murray v Karlovic gamewatch
SAP Open, San Jose

Final result:

A MURRAY (GB) v I Karlovic (Cro)

6-7 (3-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-2)

* denotes server


By Piers Newbery

Third set:

Murray 7-6 (7-2) Karlovic
Murray makes the vital first break with a superb scrambling lob that forces the towering Karlovic to turn and head for the baseline. And when the Croat makes his first double fault of the match to go 5-2 behind, it just follows for Murray to serve out. He does so with ease, sealing victory with an ace to retain his title. Brad Gilbert looks a relieved man.

Murray 6-6 Karlovic
Murray misses a makebale forehand pass on the first point but forces two volley errors to get to 15-30 up. Ace number 22 follows rom Karlovic, although a furious Murray storms up to the umpire screaming "that was such a let!" Karlovic ignores the schoolboy outburst and thumps down ace number 23 before a superb return takes Murray to deuce.

Murray makes the return high over the net but Karlovic plays a shocking volley and it's match point. Karlovic does brilliantly to pick up a net cord off the return and then put away a volley off Murray's next fizzing forehand. Ace number 24 and a smash takes us into the tie-break.

Murray 6-5 Karlovic
Murray appears to be cruising at 30-0 but Karlovic steps up the pressure on the return. He gets back to 30-30 and then hits a backhand slice down the line that just drops in. But on break point, Murray fires a blistering ace that really pumps him up.

Karlovic wins another sharp rally at the net with an angled backhand that gets the crowd going but Murray comes through on the fourth deuce.

Murray 5-5 Karlovic
Things liven up with an excellent first point that sees Murray win an exchange at the net before Karlovic levels with a fine volley. A brilliant Murray cross-court backhand takes him to 15-30 and just two points from victory but he nets the next return. Credit to Karlovic, from 30-30 he plays two excellent points from the net.

Murray 5-4 Karlovic
Murray rolls through another service game - I think the Sampras v Ivanisevic final at Wimbledon in 1994 was better than this. Still, one more break of serve and Murray retains the title.

Murray 4-4 Karlovic
Ker-thump. Karlovic levels to 15 with his 21st ace of the match. I make that 108 for the tournament, but who's counting?

Murray 4-3 Karlovic
Murray holds easily. He needs to get aboard the Karlovic serve now as he doesn't want a tie-break, surely.

Murray 3-3 Karlovic
We're well and truly into the mid-set lull at the moment. Karlovic holds to 15, Murray mutters away in the general direction of Brad Gilbert.

Murray 3-2 Karlovic
There are danger signs for Murray at 30-30 but he stays calm and serves his way out of trouble.

Murray 2-2 Karlovic
Karlovic is not beaten yet and takes the game with a sharp volley that gets him fired up.

Murray 2-1 Karlovic
Murray still looks fresh and full of energy, in contrast to the rather hang-dog expression of Karlovic who seems to be tiring. Murray holds to 15 and looks much the stronger at the moment. Famous last words.

Murray 1-1 Karlovic
Karlovic is starting to lose some bite on serve and Murray gets close to what could be a vital break at deuce, but the Croat hangs on to level.

Murray 1-0 Karlovic
Murray is under huge pressure at 15-40 but gets out of trouble magnificently, serve-volleying and finding an ace on his way to holding serve.

Second set:

Murray 6-4 Karlovic
Karlovic looks calm as he wallops ace number 17 for 30-0 but an edgy volley lets Murray back in and the Scot levels with a forehand winner. Some superb scrambling behind the baseline then follows before Murray threads a forehand down the line for set point.

Second serve.... Murray plays a good return forcing a weak volley and the Briton takes the set with a forehand winner. Two breaks of the Karlovic serve in one set - impressive.

Murray 5-4 Karlovic
Murray makes the first double fault of the match at 30-0 and Karlovic then produces a forehand winner to level. A backhand winner and big serve give Murray the game and, yes, we're heading for tie-break number two.

Murray 4-4 Karlovic
Murray gets to deuce with his best backhand return of the day but Karlovic gets out of trouble - ace number 16.

Murray 4-3 Karlovic
Murray plays two gorgeous touch volleys to get to 40-15 but the gentle second serves are starting to be a problem and Karlovic blasts his way back to deuce. Two decent serves get Murray out of trouble.

Murray 3-3 Karlovic
Murray is now well into his customary baiting of coach Brad Gilbert as Karlovic continues to smack down serves at around 300mph. Probably. Another hold and after the relative drama of the beginning of the set we're into something of a lull.

Murray 3-2 Karlovic
Karlovic is making more headway on the return at the moment and he gets to 30-30, at which point Murray pulls a cross-court forehand just wide for break point. Karlovic fails to make the return and Murray moves to advantage with a superb running forehand before taking the game.

Murray 2-2 Karlovic
Karlovic wraps up another hold with ace number 14 straight down the middle. So far he's lost three points on his first serve.

Murray 2-1 Karlovic
Karlovic does well to take Murray to deuce but the Briton arrows a forehand winner down the line and goes on to hold a vital game.

Murray 1-1 Karlovic
At last Murray finds a bit of magic on the return of serve, especially on the backhand. He gets to two break points at 15-40 and then thumps a huge serve straight back past Karlovic for a winner down the line. The Scot lets out a scream of delight/relief/frustration - take your pick.

Murray 0-1 Karlovic
After some trademark chuntering to the umpire at the changeover, Murray struggles to regain focus and the errors follow. Karlovic looks as chirpy as Karlovic ever does and gets to break point, converting with a thumping return and then giving it some Henmanesque fist pumping.

First set:

Murray 6-7 (3-7) Karlovic
Things are progressing normally at 3-3 when Karlovic appears to overhit a return but it is not called out. With breaks of serve so rare, Murray is understandably incensed and gets stuck into the umpire but to no avail. Karlovic wins his next two service points to stand at 6-3 and then plays a superb rally, mixing sliced backhands with sharp volleying. He's turned into Stefan Edberg - that's all we need.

The apparently considerable Croatian contingent of San Jose go bananas.

Murray 6-6 Karlovic
And there we are. That was a really good game from Murray with a couple of fizzing forehand winners, but he'll need more of those if he's to sneak the tie-break.

Murray 5-6 Karlovic
Ka-boom. We're up to 10 aces now and the tie-break looms. They might as well play two in a row actually.

Murray 5-5 Karlovic
The pattern continues - Murray either wins the point with a big first serve or is happy to roll in a second serve, push the ball around a bit and wait for Karlovic to stick it in the net. Easy.

Murray 4-5 Karlovic
Murray scraps his way to deuce with some fine returning and more wayward stuff at the net from Karlovic. Cue ace number eight followed by another unreturnable delivery.

Murray 4-4 Karlovic
Well, it's a positive sign for the future that Murray is increasingly able to dominate on serve but, bearing in mind who's down the other end, it doesn't make for too thrilling a spectacle. The good people of San Jose are struggling to get involved in this serving contest at the moment.

Murray 3-4 Karlovic
I don't know about Murray but I'm struggling to keep pace with Karlovic now. He races through another service game in about 45 seconds and it's hard to see him losing the set outside of a tie-break.

Murray 3-3 Karlovic
Karlovic shows some skill from the baseline in winning a lengthy second point but for the most part Murray is completely dominating from the back of the court, and he holds to 15.

Murray 2-3 Karlovic
Murray makes two returns early in the game and they bring volley errors from Karlovic, who is no McEnroe when it comes to touch shots. It's 15-30 to the Brit and after a predictable ace, Murray forces another poor volley. Break point - something Karlovic can only have a vague memory of facing - but Murray blows it by putting a very makeable backhand pass in the net and the big man holds.

Murray 2-2 Karlovic
Murray sends a down a couple of big serves and throws in two easy forehand winners on his way to a comfortable hold.

Murray 1-2 Karlovic
Karlovic ominously finds his rhythm on serve and quickly moves ahead again.

Murray 1-1 Karlovic
A supremely relaxed looking Murray eases through a love service game - he has been serving well himself all week having spent his time since the Australian Open beefing up in the gym.

Murray 0-1 Karlovic
The 6ft 10in Karlovic comes into the match having hit 27 aces in his semi-final, and previously this week brought the likes of Mardy Fish and James Blake close to tears. He wins the toss and, not surprisingly, elects to serve. Murray gets a racquet to everything but the Croat holds to 15.

Murray battles into semi-finals
17 Feb 07 |  Tennis


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