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Murray v Ancic as it happened

ABN Amro World Tennis, Rotterdam

Semi-final result

A Murray GB bt M Ancic Cro

6-1 6-2

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By David Ornstein

So another tour final comes the way of Britain's Andy Murray. That was comfortably the Scot's strongest, most confident performance of the week and it has booked him a place in the final of the World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

Mario Ancic was a real disappointment. He seemed anxious, dispirited and lacking in the technique or fitness required to challenge world number four Murray.

The only note of concern was the ankle injury Murray seemed to collect. We will keep you updated on his condition on the BBC Sport website.

In the final, Murray will meet the winner of the match between world number one Rafael Nadal and Frenchman Gael Monfils. There should only be one winner there but you never know.

Join us tomorrow (Sunday) for coverage of the final.

Cheerio!


SECOND SET

Murray 6-1 6-2 Ancic
Now that is what I call a rout. I genuinely thought this was going to be a pretty even match. Shows how much I know.

Keen to get off the court and receive treatment for his ankle problem, Andy storms through to love. The 21-year-old exhibits some serious, serious power to blast his way through. The best example was the final point when a tense rally was put to bed by a blistering forehand that was simple unreturnable.

"The greater good of tennis is not being served today. Ancic has let friendship and loyalty to Murray blur his senses. Does Ancic owe Murray a win?
jim040z on 606
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Murray 6-1 5-2 Ancic
A final stand from Ancic me thinks. The big Croat looks set to take the game comfortably but Murray seems to be capable of turning the screw at will. Andy brings it back to 40-30 before Ancic serves out.

Murray to serve for the match.

Murray 6-1 5-1 Ancic
A close shave for the man from Dunblane. A pumped up Ancic goes 30-0 up on Murray's serve, helped by an incorrect challenge by Murray. Murray hits back with an ace but then Ancic beats Murray with a forehand from the baseline, I think for the first time all match.

What a weapon Murray's serve has become in the last year or so. It gets him out of trouble on a couple of occasions but he still can't see out the game. Ancic, an obdurate young fellow, chases and chases, bringing up a third break point of the match.

Does anyone actually want to win this game? Points are exchanged with alarming regularity before a thumping Murray serve and Ancic's inaccuracy put Murray on the verge of victory.

"Superb Murray. Playing well again after struggling earlier this week. He doesn't appear to be ill, so what's the goss on his withdrawal next week?
Phil via text on 81111

Phil, I'll endeavour to find out for you. Really unsure at the moment.

Murray 6-1 4-1 Ancic
That's much more like it from Super Mario. At last the 24-year-old goes through a game without an unforced error or two and Murray, for once, has no answer. I make that seven games in a row taken by Murray but Ancic is finally back up and running.

Murray 6-1 4-0 Ancic
Blink and you'll miss a game at this rate. Murray storms through that one to love. Of greater concern to his followers will be this ankle problem. He's clearly not happy and wants to get off this court asap. Meanwhile, the crowd in the Ahoy Arena are doing their best to gee up Ancic. I can't see a comeback myself.

Murray 6-1 3-0 Ancic
Injury, what injury? To be honest, Mario's had an absolute shocker. Woeful. If you see your opponent might have an injury you keep the ball between the lines, keep him running, test him to the max. A litany of unforced errors from Ancic give Murray 0-40 and, with Murray seemingly out of the rally, Ancic puts an easy-as-you-like smash into the net.

That's Murray's fourth break of the match folks, and this one might not last an awful lot longer. Ancic heading back into the top 10? You're havin' a laugh on this evidence.

1353: Murray moves gingerly and starts flexing his right ankle. Do we have an injury on out hands?

Murray 6-1 2-0 Ancic
In fairness, you can't fault Mario for the want of trying and he keeps Murray running from side to side with some stinging groundstrokes from the baseline. These days Murray knows how to get out of holes pretty darn well and he sends down a blistering serve to go 40-30 up.

Andy clearly wants to finish this match quickly but by pushing a could of forehands wide he hands Ancic his first break point of the match. Right on cue, however, out comes the sliced backhand drop shot and Ancic has no answer. Super Mario nets - AGAIN - as Murray goes to advantage and he serves out with an ace.

Signs of tetchiness from Murray during that game. At deuce he barked at a ball boy for his towel. He looks a tad pale too. But it seems he'll have more than enough in the tank to pull through.

Murray 6-1 1-0 Ancic
The second set starts as the first finished - with an Ancic error. The 24-year-old Croat goes long to hand the initiative to Murray, who passes superbly to reach 0-30. Alas, Ancic heads my pleads and applies serious pressure on Murray by coming to the net. It works as he levels at 30-30. But two more unforced errors - Ancic goes long and then wide on the forehand - to hand Murray his third break of the match.

FIRST SET

"Get the cops, someone is being murdered on court. A different Murray today - he is killing Ancic."
KelticPirate on 606
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Murray 6-1 Ancic
There it is. Ancic provided some stubborn resistance in that game but his unforced error count is rising all the time. Add in some vintage Murray groundstrokes and you only have one likely winner. Ancic takes the game to 40-30 but then nets to hand Murray that first set in 25 minutes. Now who would have expected it to be done that quickly?

Murray 5-1 Ancic
I've seen a lot of Super Mario since he really burst onto the scene in 2005 and never before have I seen him so reluctant to come into the net. That is what his game is all about. Mario, you're never going to out-do Murray in baseline rallies. Murray races to 0-30 and then, with a delicious passing shot, 15-40. Once again the Croat refuses to surge forward - probably in the knowledge that Andy is more than capable of passing him - but a miscued forehand sails wide and Murray snatches a second break. The set is within his sights now.

BREAKING NEWS
BBC Scotland has learned that Andy Murray has pulled out of the Marseille Open next week. Murray is the defending champion. We will have more on this after his semi-final against Super Mario Ancic.

Murray 4-1 Ancic
First scare negotiated for Britain's number one. Ancic opens up a 30-0 lead on the Murray serve and Murray, looking agitated, can't get enough of his towel as he pours with sweat. It's not that hot, is it? Anyway, the towel does the trick because Murray takes the next four points and finishes with an ace.

"Is it my imagination or have Andy's arms and shoulders already shrank slightly since he reportedly put on 4 kilos at the start of the year? Perhaps the illness he had at the back end of the Aussie Open did take its toll a bit?
Cogan on 606
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Murray 3-1 Ancic
Super Mario is finally on the board. It's quite simple, really. Keep the ball in the court, make your opponent make the mistakes and you should be okay. If only it really was that straightforward. Anyway, Mario made it look simple! I'll stop waffling now.

Murray 3-0 Ancic
This could be a quick first set. Murray forces Ancic into a couple more errors but this game is all about Andy's serve. Ancic may be a big serving Croat in the mould of the great Goran Ivanisevic but he is being upstaged but the young Scot and a couple of aces see Murray through.

Murray 2-0 Ancic
Now I know these guys are good friends - and Super Mario regularly sends Murray texts after victories - but no need for charity, Mario. First the Croat nets, then he goes long. At 30-0 up Murray passes his opponent with a superb forehand and although he goes long to give Mario a sniff, the world number 28 nets and the early break goes to Britain's number one.

Murray 1-0 Ancic
Good start, Andy. Good start. Ancic enters into baselines rallies with Murray but nets on each of the first two points. He pulls one back by telegraphing a Murray drop shot and cushioning a half-volley past the Scot. But Super Mario goes long and then Murray finishes off the game with an ace. Nice.


1315: Ancic won the toss and has opted to receive.

"Looking forward to a great match up. One of the best serves in the game facing one of the best return. Should be a cracker but Murray to edge it."
alex_tree on 606Join the debate on 606 or text TENNIS and your comment to 81111

1309: The players are out on court and the umpire has just tossed his coin. It was unclear to me who won that but I'll inform you shortly. Murray has looked a little out of sorts all week but, that said, he has improved with each match.

The 21-year-old benefited from Marc Gicquel's retirement to reach the last four. Murray was winning 7-6 (7-2) 4-6 3-0 at the time. Ancic, 24, was hugely impressive in beating last year's surprise package Gilles Simon earlier in the week and he reached the semis with a 6-4 6-4 win against Mikhail Youzhny.

1306: Ancic, ranked 28 in the world, leads world number four Murray 3-1, beating him in Auckland in 2006 and Miami and Barcelona in 2008. Murray's one win came on the Marseilles hard courts last year.

1305: The action at Rotterdam's Ahoy Arena will soon be upon us. "Super" Mario Ancic if one of the few players left on tour who holds a head-to-head advantage over British number one Murray.

1300: Goede namiddag dames en heren. Or good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to our coverage of Andy Murray's semi-final against Mario Ancic at the World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

see also
Murray & Nadal through to final
14 Feb 09 |  Tennis
Murray v Gicquel as it happened
13 Feb 09 |  Tennis
Murray overcomes battling Seppi
12 Feb 09 |  Tennis
Murray v Seppi as it happened
12 Feb 09 |  Tennis
Nadal grinds out Rotterdam win
11 Feb 09 |  Tennis


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