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Page last updated at 16:50 GMT, Thursday, 30 October 2008

Murray maintains winning sequence

Andy Murray
Murray will meet defending champion David Nalbandian in the quarter finals

Andy Murray made it 14 wins in a row to reach the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters with a comfortable 6-3 7-6 win over Spain's Fernando Verdasco.

The British number one broke in the eighth game of the first set when the Spaniard imploded at 40-0 up.

Both players held serve to take the second game to tie-break, which Murray won after coming back from 4-1 down.

Murray next plays Argentine David Nalbandian as he bids for a record third successive Masters title.

The 21-year-old, who is aiming to become the first player to win three successive Masters titles after victories in Cincinnati and Madrid, looked composed throughout despite not being on top form.

The world number four had not lost to Verdasco in four previous attempts, beating the left-hander convincingly on his way to defending the St Petersburg Open only last week.

Verdasco proved to be a tougher opponent this time around, with a customary powerful serve and some fine shots, but the Spaniard's errors towards the end of the first set proved costly.

It doesn't surprise me when players go nuts over line calls but here it was more about the stage of the match

Andy Murray

Murray admitted he took time to adapt to the ferocious pace of Court One, saying: "I was amazed how fast that court was, in comparison to Centre Court.

"I don't think he had a break point the whole match - he maybe once got a deuce on my serve - and I only had one break point.

"I don't really care about the environment. It's more the difference in speed of the courts I find it amazing.

"The ceiling is much lower and it makes the court play faster. I don't see why there's such a huge difference."

The games had gone with serve until the eighth game when the world number 17 lost his cool following a line call.

The 24-year-old received a warning for questioning the umpire's eyesight and proceeded to lose five points on the trot, netting when under no pressure and then double-faulting before snatching at a forehand.


Murray, whose service game was impeccable, held to clinch the first set and both players held serve in the second for a nail-biting tie-break.

Verdasco took a mini-break with a superb forehand down the line and could have won the set had he not directed a relatively easy smash into the net.

Murray took advantage of the lifeline with a Verdasco double-fault giving the Scot the chance to serve for the match, which he did thanks to another backhand error from the Spaniard.

The Briton was surprised by the way his opponent "lost his head".

"It doesn't surprise me when players go nuts over line calls but here it was more about the stage of the match. It was 4-3 and 40-0, and I hadn't been in any of his service games at all." said Murray.

"I thought it was my chance to break and I obviously got it. It was a little bit surprising, but it was perfect for me."

Murray will have to overcome a far more difficult hurdle in the form of defending champion Nalbandian if he is to progress to the last four.

The eighth seed, who reached the final of the Swiss Indoors in Basle last week, easily defeated his in-form compatriot Juan Martin del Potro 6-4 6-0 in Paris.

"He picks his schedule very well and is fresher than the other players towards the end of the year," said Murray of Nalbandian.

Murray's only previous match against Nalbandian came at Wimbledon in 2005, when the Scot - aged 18 - surrendered a two-set lead in his first outing on Centre Court.

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see also
Murray begins strongly in Paris
30 Oct 08 |  Tennis

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