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Murray v Ljubicic as it happened

Indian Wells Masters 1000

Quarter-final result:

A MURRAY (GB) v I LJUBICIC (Cro)

7-5 7-6 (8-6)

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By Saj Chowdhury

Murray 7-5 7-6 (8-6) Ljubicic
Murray looks very tired out there. I can imagine the wind is sapping the energy from both players. Lubo gets a mini-break to go 4-3 ahead after a good volley at the net. Match point for Murray after Lubo plays into the net. Will he do it? Oh yes. Lubo fails to cope with a powerful Murray forehand, over-hitting his return. That was tough for the top Brit.

Murray 7-5 6-6 Ljubicic
An outstanding half-volley from Murray helps him stay in the set. Tie-break time.

Murray 7-5 5-6 Ljubicic
Lubo might be old in tennis years (still, three years younger than me), but he has done well in the match. However, two unforced errors gives Murray a 15-30 lead. Murray challenges a backhand, but Lubo's shot was in by a country mile. Two aces sees Lubo win the game.

Murray 7-5 5-5 Ljubicic
Great movement Muzza. From back of the court to the front. Dictates play and wins the point for 30-30. But now it's break point for Lubo after Murray's lob falls inches out. Does he save break point? No.

Murray 7-5 5-4 Ljubicic
There's a guy who looks like West Ham's Scott Parker in the crowd. Weird. Murray brings it to deuce, after reading Lubo's service well. Murray has a break point after Lubo plays a forehand into the net. An ace gets the Croat out of trouble - 132 mph. Nice. Advantage Murray, again. Murray with another challenge - was his return in? Was it? Was it? Lubo goes over to the umpire and challenges the computer decision. The point will be replayed. Lubo lost his concentration and an unforced error on his second serve means that Murray will serve for the match. Drama.

Murray 7-5 4-4 Ljubicic
'Major skillz' from Lubo with a lovely drop-shot from mid-court. A beauty. Murray comes through though with his sixth ace - which is one of the slowest I've ever seen. All about placement, of course.

Murray 7-5 3-4 Ljubicic
It is a windy day, which has upset the shot-judgement of both players. There are occasional moments of genius, with Lubo placing a great cross-court backhand past Murray. Murray, again, messes up a drop-shot which gives the Croatian birthday-boy the game.

"Following live text updates on my mobile 'cos the cable tv and internet in my area is down. Waiting all day for this! Typical bad timing!"
cogen via text on 81111

Sorry, I can't help with getting those wires connected again.

Murray 7-5 3-3 Ljubicic
A sublime low volley at the net from Murray to go 15-0 on his serve. Strong wrist. Murray then goes 40-0. But then Lubo hits a quite extraordinary backhand return - like the type you would perform on a computer game when you've got the 'power-up' button on max. All of a sudden it's deuce. Lubo overhits the first point. The Croat then goes for a forehand winner and fluffs it up.

Murray 7-5 2-3 Ljubicic
Murray challenges Lubo's first serve. Murray loses the battle with the computer. More great play from Lubo, really pulling Murray all over the court. Methinks this will go to a tie-break.

"This is so going to three sets."
pottiella on 606

I hope not. I need a loo break.

Murray 7-5 2-2 Ljubicic
Lubo challenges - it was clearly in b'day boy. No, it was out. Well done Lubo. Murray challenging now. He thinks his second serve was in. It wasn't. Two break points for Lubo. Saves the first and... saves the second with a good second big second serve down the middle. Class. Wins the deuce battle.

Murray 7-5 1-2 Ljubicic
I've only been to California once. It was Los Angeles, for two days - I didn't like it. Nice people though. Lubo wins his game fairly comfortably with Murray unable to cope with his opponents serves.

Murray 7-5 1-1 Ljubicic
It's a good thing Murray does have great power in his forehand. A heavy first serve into the feet of Lubo levels the scores.

"Just a pedantic correction, but it's Fernando Verdasco who is a potential semi-final opponent for Murray, not Fernando Gonzalez."
Anon via text on 81111

Not pedantic at all. Cheers for the spot Anon.

Murray 7-5 0-1 Ljubicic
Murray has a wee pit-stop before coming out for the second set. Not a 'wee pit-stop'... although it might have been. Lubo claims the first game of the second set with an ace.

FIRST SET

Murray 7-5 Ljubicic
Another great baseline rally, ends with Lubo winning the point as a result of a poor return from Muzza - 15-30. Joy of joys - great point from Murray. Good disguise on his drop-shot. Lubo's return on the next point comes off the frame of his racket. Murray's set - 51 minutes.

Murray 6-5 Ljubicic
Lubo massively messes up two smashes on his service game. Murray wins a tremendous rally to go 0-40 up - Lubo just ran out of steam. He is older than Murray, I guess. Lubo saves the first but the Croat was rubbish at the net and hits his return out. Murray to serve for the set.

Murray 5-5 Ljubicic
Lot of pressure on Muzza, but he slowed his first serve down and saw out the game. Well done that man.

"So I had a look. Here are three opponents who retired playing him this year: Pavel in the Aus Open, Gicquel in Rotterdam and then Robredo here. And if you count Nadal in the Rotterdam final, well I wouldn't be surprised to find a collection of voodoo dolls in Murray's kitbag."
Sam, Edinburgh via text on 81111 (see below)

Good research.

Murray 4-5 Ljubicic
One thing Lubo has been playing well is the drop shot. Murray finds himself charging into the net in order to get to one. No injury. Murray's just shouted "concentrate" to himself after finding the net with a potential winner. A first ace gives Lubo the game.

Murray 4-4 Ljubicic
It's now Lubo's turn to play poorly. His backhand's been terrible. Level between the two.

"Ljubicic is hitting some huge groundstrokes."
MurraycarriesGB on 606

Correct.

Murray 3-4 Ljubicic
Murray has lost his powers. It's like Peter Parker in Spiderman 2 - just gone. Lubo on the other hand has found his. Love game for the Croat.

Murray 3-3 Ljubicic
Two great returns gives Lubo 0-30 on Muzza's serve. Well, now... two break points for the Croat. Quite simply, the most awful attempt at a drop shot which hits the middle of the net sees Murray lose his break.

"I'm wondering, has Andy Murray been winning more than his fair share of matches with his opponent 'retired hurt' recently?"
Sam, Edinburgh via text on 81111

Sam, I don't know. I just don't know.

Murray 3-2 Ljubicic
Murray has only lost 15 games en route to the quarters - there you go fact fans. Lubo was world number three in May 2006 - another fact. Back to the game, the birthday boy has found a bit of rhythm and races to 40-0. Muzza pulls it back to 30-40, but a good drop shot from Lubo ensures that the Croat wins his second game.

Murray 3-1 Ljubicic
Wicked cross-court forehand gives the Croat a good start in Murray's service game. First challenge by Lubo. He thinks his forehand was in - it was out. Back to 30-30. Now then, a Lubo break point after the Croat attacks Murray's second serve. Lubo had the chance to pass him, but finds the net. An ace gets Murray out of another break-point problem. Unforced error from Lubo hands Murray the game.

Murray 2-1 Ljubicic
Lubo's having a 'mare from the back of the court. Murray has too much power and brings the scores to 15-15 with a cracking forehand. Lubo's won his first game, but it was a struggle. A good first serve forcing Murray out wide did the job

Murray 2-0 Ljubicic
Murray is wearing a blue top, so at times it looks like just a pair of white shorts in the middle of the blue court. The super Scot wins his first service game, with little drama.

Murray 1-0 Ljubicic
Lubo to serve. Two unforced errors from Lubo means 0-30 to Murray. Poor start for the Croat. Muzza has three breaks points after Lubo finds the net. Guess what? First break for Murray after a poor backhand from Lubo.

2006: "If Murray does serve well he'll win 7-6 6-3."
AvramGrantsALegend on 606

I'm going 6-3 6-3. Crazy, I know.

2005: "Oh, are the BBC doing text updates then? Makes a nice change I suppose."
pottiella on 606

We do try.

2002: Sorry, I forgot to say, it's Lubo's b'day today. Altogether now, "happy birthday to you, happy... "

2001: Surprise, surprise it's a sunny day in California. In all fairness, it was sunny in London today too and other parts of the UK. There's the heat issue of course.

2000: Andy Murray said he wasn't happy with his form after he beat Tommy 'retired hurt' Robredo in the last round.

It's great that he's reached a level that he can say that and make the last eight of a major tournament. Well done Muzza.

Anyway, back to tonight. Thirty-year-old Croatian world number 74 Ivan 'Lubo' Ljubicic (good one for the spelling bee) now stands in the way of Murray and a semi-final meeting between Roger Federer or Fernando Verdasco.

Head-to-heads: Murray v Ljubicic

It's 2-2 between the two. Lubo won the first encounter in 2006 and Murray won the last earlier this season in Rotterdam.

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see also
Indian Wells photos
18 Mar 09 |  Tennis
Nadal & Djokovic stay on course
18 Mar 09 |  Tennis
Nadal hits form in Indian Wells
16 Mar 09 |  Tennis
Murray returns with doubles win
13 Mar 09 |  Tennis


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