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Murray v Ferrero as it happened

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606: DEBATE

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By Tom Fordyce at Wimbledon

1701: Two matches on Centre, two clinics. Roger Federer was unstoppable against Karlovic earlier, and in the last 45 minutes, Murray was on the same heady level. Will they meet in the final on Sunday? On this afternoon's display, only Andy Roddick's mum would bet against it.

1658: Extraordinary acceleration from Murray - he's absolutely breezed into the semi-finals, the first Brit since Tim Henman in 2002 to make the last four here. He holds his racquet aloft to an upstanding Centre, and the cheers and applause fill the baking air.

Murray 7-5 6-3 6-2 Ferrero
Crash bang wallop - he's through!

Murray 7-5 6-3 5-2 Ferrero
They're going ripe bananas on Henman Hill, and why not? This is a dismantling, a thrashing, an old-fashioned spanking. Ferrero hoists the white flag, surrendering yet another service game, and the end is nigh...

Murray 7-5 6-3 4-2* Ferrero
The fastest hold of the day - barely have fingers touched laptop keys when Murray's back under his courtside brolly, the game and surely match pocketed at comet-like speed.

Murray 7-5 6-3 *3-2 Ferrero
That squeaking sound you can hear is the wheels coming off Ferrero and rolling slowly down to Southfields. Murray flays him mercilessly to all quarters, standing tall and crashing increasingly enfeebled returns to either side until the break is taken. Kim Sears, long locks tied back in deference to the red-hot rays, claps delightedly while Mama Judy nods her maternal appreciation.

Murray 7-5 6-3 2-2* Ferrero
The pattern is established - Ferrero has to fight like a Trojan to hang onto his serve, Murray rattles through his with all the concern of a man brushing his teeth. No-one likes a chicken-counter, but if Ferrero comes back into this, Murray will have to have the stinkiest 'mare of his entire existence.

Murray 7-5 6-3 *1-2 Ferrero
Ferrero wobbling like a blancmange in a tumble-drier now. He's dissected by a devilish dipper of a backhand, saves a break point with a nervy second serve and then needs three put-a-ways to clean up a messy point.

Text in your views on 81111
"I kind of want Ferrero to take a set to drag it out a bit... Damn being at work for another 20 minutes! Calm down Andy!!"
George in Leeds via text on 81111


Murray 7-5 6-3 1-1* Ferrero
With the exception of the first game in the second set, Ferrero has been blown away by the monstrous Murray first serve today. It's like taking on a siege gun with a peashooter.

Murray 7-5 6-3 *0-1 Ferrero
38 clean winners from Murray now as he strides towards his first ever Wimbledon semi-final. Ferrero keeps one desperate nostril above the floodwaters with a battling hold, but he's swimming against a spring tide here - he's only come back from two sets down twice in his entire career. Shoulders are slumped, eyes haunted.

SECOND SET

Murray 7-5 6-3 Ferrero
Gobsmacking run - ace, brutal pace, ace, brutal pace - 20 points out of the last 21, and Murray has seized complete control of this match in the blink of a gimlet eye.

Murray 7-5 *5-3 Ferrero
Make that 16 points out of 17 - Ferrero is flakier than the chocolate usually speared into a 99. Double fault, rapier returning, Ferrero flops, Murray moves on...

Murray 7-5 4-3* Ferrero
Fantasies of towering ice-cream cornets torment toiling text commentators as Murray marches through a third game on the bounce. Murray has won 12 of the last 13 points, and suddenly it's Ferrero who's looking around listlessly, searching for inspiration in the reddening faces of the partisan crowd.

Murray 7-5 *3-3 Ferrero
This might lift them - murderous changes of pace from Murray, tantalising and teasing his scampering opponent with a mix of slice, topspin and moonballers. A crash cross-court brings up three break points - and JCF capitulates just as he did at the business end of the first set, thunking in a double fault. Crowd roused.

Murray 7-5 2-3* Ferrero
Trouble again now for Murray. A double-fault pegs him back to 30-30; a lustrous backhand pass from Ferrero has him scowling at deuce. JCF topspins too long, is drawn to the tape by a slicey dropper and then has his tip down the line cut off with strong-armed sting from Murray. Curiously quiet on Centre - the heat seems to be hammering all the yee-haw out of the Andy army.

Murray 7-5 *1-3 Ferrero
Lawrence Dallaglio now courtside. Are there actually any civilians in Centre Court at all? Ferrero increases his chances of reaching his first Grand Slam semi since the 2004 Aussie Open with a service hold devoid of toe-holds for the sweating Scot.

Murray 7-5 1-2* Ferrero
Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, fiddles with his accreditation as Murray stalks back to the T. The no.3 seed deposits three big first serves past Ferrero, smacks a liquid backhand long but then flays a fast forehand back with added interest to break the bagel for the set.

Murray 7-5 *0-2 Ferrero
Certain signs of the style and form that took Ferrero to number one in the world back in 2003. He's moving Murray around like a marionette, the forehand pulling strings this way and that to maintain the break. Game on...

Murray 7-5 0-1* Ferrero
Two small Spanish flags flutter two rows back from the front, and Ferrero is a man emboldened - that's a delightful running forehand pass, and when Murray loses concentration the Mosquito is buzzing all over him. Two shock break points - the first saved with a crunching serve, the second tossed away with a weak-wristed backhand into the tape. Puzzled silence fills the SW19 air.

FIRST SET

Murray 7-5 Ferrero
Dreamy passing shot cross-court from Murray - and another net-cord Brucie bonus to take him to 30-30. Is this a chance? Murray blocks the JCF serve back, slices a forehand deep and then thrashes another cross-court to move to set point. Shouts of encouragement break out around Centre. Murray blocks back another but is on the back foot immediately - a stretching forehand drifts wide. Deuce. Ferrero struggling now on his first serve - and what a shot that is from Murray, an inside-out backhand winner to move to another set point. First serve missed by JCF - and the second one too! Calamitous time to come up with your first double, and Murray has snatched away the set...

Murray 6-5* Ferrero
Murray's firing down aces at will - Ferrero gets only his fourth point against serve with a fortuitous net-cord, but that's his lot. I've just been told that there is already a Titanic- The Musical. Needn't trouble a man of Rice's talents too much - if any man can come up with a lyric to rhyme with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, it's him.

Murray *5-5 Ferrero
Ferrero adjusts his white bandanna headband as his compatriot Sergio Garcia watches on from a rare shaded seat. Nervy error long from JCM to wobble at 30-30 - but that's a fine point, varying the pace and angle to slowly throttle the life from Murray's hopes. An almost Nevadan heat out there - I could swear I just saw Murray's shadow sweating.

Murray 5-4* Ferrero
Now then. The Murray first serve, so flaky against Stan Wawrinka in Monday night's epic, is as solid as a Swiss bank. He's only dropped three points in his five service games so far, and that hints at tiebreak benefits. If Ferrero can hold, that is...

Murray *4-4 Ferrero
Quiet ooohhhs of disappointment from the crowd as Murray booms a simple forehand long. Not quite found his groove yet - or has he? That's a delight of a backhand drive down the line, and Ferrero shakes his wise old head. Spunky overhead from the Spaniard under pressure from Murray, but a forehand flies long - deuce. Murray squints into the bright sunlight and takes a step into the JCF serve - wrong tactic, as Ferrero seals the game with a backhand topspin down the line.

Murray 4-3* Ferrero
Leftfield spot in the Royal Box - Boris Becker's old manager Ion Tiriac. Hello - there's Sir Desmond of Lynam, looking exactly the same age as he did when that curious and short-lived Countdown experiment came to an end. Two crashing aces, crowd-pleasing hold from Murray.

Murray *3-3 Ferrero
Lovely angle again from JCF, gradually tightening the vice with successive dipping forehands until Murray pops. Super volley at the net, too - a don't-bother angler that lands on the turf and sits down like a cherry dropped onto a trifle.

Murray 3-2* Ferrero
Spectators stream back into their sunlit seats before Murray leans back and crunches in four first serves - no-sweat hold. Who else do we have in the posh seats along with the sunglassed Winslet - Tim Rice, from the look of it. Expect Titantic - The Musical before the year is out.

Murray *2-2 Ferrero
All manner of emergency fans being pressed into service out there - hats, programmes, quartered broadsheet newspapers. Murray gets lucky with a net-cord that scratches its chin on the tape before deciding to fall the Spanish side but is then left off-balance at the baseline as a searing forehand sizzles into the 'rn' of the corner. JCF pushes a volley long - break point - but then changes the angles on his forehand beautifully to force the error long from Murray. Another raking forehand leaves Murray in a heap - gasps from the crowd, including Kate Winslett in the Royal Box - he's okay, but the game has gone.


Murray 2-1* Ferrero
Still only half-full, Centre - the stampede for Wimbledon's smallest rooms has yet to subside. Murray slices lamely into the net but crashes a big serve in at 40-30 to get his nose back in front. Ferrero's 37th major, this - would have been many more had it not been for injury after soul-sapping injury.

Murray *1-1 Ferrero
Let's look at some omens here. JCF has a 4-4 record against British players, Murray a 24-12 record against Spaniards. Murray slices his way to 0-30 on his opponent's serve, has a dropper chased down and put away and is then left scampering by feisty Ferrero forehands.

Murray 1-0* Ferrero
Now that's what you call a start - two aces, a dinked dropper, hold to love. "CAARMOORRN MURRAY!" shouts a deep-voiced male fan, bellowing like a wounded wildebeest.

* denotes next server

1511: Only one previous meeting between these two, the 6-2 6-4 lesson Murray handed out in the semi-final at Queen's a fortnight ago. JCF has found a little more form since then, of course - waving farewell to no.10 seed Fernando Gonzalez in the third round and no.8 Gilles Simon in the last 16.

1508: Raucous whoopage from the spectators still in situ as the two men stride into the dazzling pool of sunlight. Murray raises a casual hand before plonking a heavy bag of racquets down by his chair.

1504: Mass emptying of Centre as punters sprint to the porcelain before the players arrive. They'd better Usain it - I can see two heads emerging from the locker room.

1500: Not only is that the time, it's also the temperature on Centre Court. Into the furnace? It's time for Murray v Ferrero...





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