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Murray v Del Potro as it happened

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By David Ornstein

1705: Federer and Verdasco are due to get started at 2045 GMT. There should be a 17,500 sell-out crowd inside the O2 Arena for that one but there will be no BBC television coverage so come back here if you want to follow the action. In the meantime why not have a read of...

1700: That's about about it for now but I'll be back later to guide you through the second Group A match between world number one Roger Federer and Spain's world number eight Fernando Verdasco.

KelticPirate on 606: "Great win and excellent game for Andy. Del P deserves major kudos as I am impressed by his game and also his sportsmanship."

1650: So it's a perfect start to the ATP Tour Finals for Andy Murray and the British number one's followers. It looked as though he might have raced to an easy victory after dominating the opening set but Del Potro showed just a hint of the mettle which helped him win the 2009 US Open by bouncing back in the second. The third was decided by Murray's outstanding serve and he is now in pole position for a semi-final berth.


THIRD SET

Murray 6-3 3-6 6-2 Del Potro
At 30-15 down on his own serve, Del Potro picks a truly terrible moment to double-fault. Two match points to Murray. The first is saved by another resounding forehand winner from the Argentine but the second is dominated by Murray and he wraps up the match with a shovelled forehand passing shot. Game, set and match MURRAY.

BBC Sport's Piers Newbery at the O2 Arena: "Great serving from Murray just when he needs it in final set, helps keep delpo's ridiculous forehand quiet. He could hurt someone with that."
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Murray 6-3 3-6 5-2 Del Potro*
Murray is now playing with the swagger of a man who knows he's likely to go top of Group A in not too long at all. His serving began to click just when it mattered - at the start of the deciding set - and it has taken him to within a game of the match.

*Murray 6-3 3-6 4-2 Del Potro
Facial expressions would suggest Del Potro knows the game is almost up. He batters his way into a 40-15 lead but he twice miscues to raise Murray's hope of a second break. A couple of delicious serves see the world number five through but is he merely delaying the inevitable?

KelticPirate on 606: "Murray serving like a demon... apart from a few games in the second he is playing quite well and stifling DP, although I am impressed with DP so far but today I'm afraid its looking grim as Murray belts down an ace to go 4-1 up in the final set..."

Murray 6-3 3-6 4-1 Del Potro*
It's difficult to see Murray being stopped from here. His serve - on which he spends 20 minutes of every 90-minute practice session - comes into its own and sees the Scot extends his lead with relative ease.

*Murray 6-3 3-6 3-1 Del Potro
The crowd are sensing a quicker-than-expected end to proceedings when Delpot nets to put Murray 15-0 up. But the Argentine serves his way out of trouble and Murray puts a defensive forehand wide to concede the game.

Tim Henman on BBC Two: "That was probably Murray's best service game all match. A break is not a break unless you follow it up by holding serve and on this occasion Murray did that, emphatically."

Murray 6-3 3-6 3-0 Del Potro*
Bang, bang, bang, bang. Murray holds to love in no time at all. A couple more of those and he'll be sampling the taste of victory.

*Murray 6-3 3-6 2-0 Del Potro
Things look promising for Murray when the 22-year-old engineers a 30-0 lead on the Delpot serve. But out comes the raking forehand and, in the blink of an eye, the 21-year-old Argentine is 40-30 up. When Hawk-Eye adjudges Del Potro to have gone long Murray has deuce and a netted backhand gives him break point. Delpot saves with a smash but he can't shake Murray off and here's a second break point. This time Delpot shanks a backhand into the tramlines and Murray lets out a deafening shout of "C'mon". First blood to Murray in the deciding set - the British number one has broken the Delpot serve.

Murray 6-3 3-6 1-0 Del Potro*
An excellent hold from Murray. The Scot is bang up for this final set, constantly motivating himself with shouts of "Andy" and "C'mon". Del Potro sticks with him to 30-30 but Murray brings up game point and then races into the net, picks up a drop shot and passes his opponent to take the game.

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SECOND SET

*Murray 6-3 3-6 Del Potro
A cracking game. Del Potro edges ahead early on with a couple of devastating forehands. A third is wildly miss-hit to give Murray a glimmer of hope. The Scot shows incredible movement and fitness to stay in contention but Del Potro brings up set point and takes it with - take a guess - a booming inside out forehand. How you ever seen a forehand more powerful and accurate than Del Potro's when he properly connects? One set apiece. The decider should make for captivating viewing.

pottiella on 606: "Serving poorly...making silly errors....looks a TINY bit flat..."

Murray 6-3 3-5 Del Potro*
Describing that game as a war of attrition would be a crass understatement. I can still hear the blows of ball on string reverberating around the arena. There is little to chose between either player and Murray, who holds a 4-1 head-to-head advantage over Del Potro, wastes a game point by carelessly going long. He gets another chance when Delpot nets a backhand and then wraps up the game as the Argentine laces a trademark forehand into the net too. Murray must break now or we're all square in the match.

MurrayMania on 606: "I'm sure a few people will be moaning that Murray is slicing too much, but how much can you really do with a ball that's been hit so hard its already behind you?"

*Murray 6-3 2-5 Del Potro
This is getting tasty. Murray scrambles around to break his way back into the set but he is nowhere near his fluent best early in the game and Del Potro races 40-15 ahead. A Delpot double fault give the Scot a sniff and a glorious forehand pass takes us to deuce. Murray pumps his fist and looks good to go on and secure the break. But how foolish it would be to underestimate Del Potro's resilience. The US Open champion forces his opponent into a couple of errors and Murray is now serving to stay in the second set.

Murray 6-3 2-4 Del Potro*
As Tim Henman points out on the BBC Two commentary, it is vital for Murray to follow up his break of serve with a commanding service game. Easier said than done. Murray goes long with two forehands to hand Delpot a break point. An nail-biting rally ensues but Murray can't live with the Delpot forehand and puts a backhand into the tramlines. Del Potro breaks again and is back in control of the set.

*Murray 6-3 2-3 Del Potro
The unpredictability of this match continues. Just when Del Potro appeared to have assumed an element of control over proceedings, Murray comes out of the blocks really aggressively and goes 30-0 up on the Del Potro serve. The US Open champion fights back but Murray is too strong and breaks back when Del Potro loses his concentration mid-rally. We're back on level terms.

Murray 6-3 1-3 Del Potro*
Let's not fault Murray for effort. But things aren't going too smoothly for the world number four at the moment. Del Potro took quite a while to get going but he is now firmly into his stride and seems capable of raising his game at will. Despite a poor volley while leading 40-15, Murray battled his way to the game and a break of serve now would come as a timely boost to the Scot.

benny007 on 606: "Wow. I wasn't expecting this turnaround! Seems like Del Popcorn's getting into his stride now! Mind you, he did beat Federer in the US Open."

*Murray 6-3 0-3 Del Potro
Other than the music blaring out of the PA system at the change of ends, the only noise inside the O2 Arena right now is coming from the pockets of Del Potro fans. A commanding service game leaves Murray chasing shadows and, indeed, the second set.

Murray 6-3 0-2 Del Potro*
It's fair to say that at the beginning of the second set Del Potro is resembling Murray at the start of the first. Not good news. A couple of unforced errors from Murray and a deft drop shot from Del Potro at the net give the Argentine 40-0 on his opponents serve. Murray shouts "C'mon Andy" but it does little to stop him netting a forehand and give Del Potro an early break of serve.

*Murray 6-3 0-1 Del Potro
An inconsistent start to the second set for both men but the crowd are on their feet when Murray passes Del Potro with a backhand played almost from row A of the O2 Arena. Unfortunately for the Scot, a netted forehand sees Del Potro get his neck in front for the first time today.

NapoleonEinstein on 606: "Murray deserved that set with the work he put in at the beginning. Del Potro kinda handed that to him there, Murray will pass someone like Del Potro for fun."

FIRST SET

Murray 6-3 Del Potro*
This time Murray gets it right and the Scot goes a set up. It was all quite straightforward, really. Del Potro goes long twice to help Murray race into a 40-0 lead. An unsuccessful Hawk-Eye challenge from Murray lets Del Potro back in but the Argentine fails to pick up a Murray pass at his feet to concede the game and first set.

*Murray 5-3 Del Potro
Out of nowhere, this match looks to be turning into a cracker. The crowd are full of appreciation for the Del Potro forehand - it's worth the admission fee alone. Again serving to stay in the set, Delpot makes the early running but Murray shows plenty of aggression from the baseline to hit back with three straight points. Delpot displays soft hands around the net to save a couple of break points and when Murray goes long, the 20-year-old from Tandil has game point. Murray looks to have it saved when he follows up a booming forehand by approaching the net to volley but Delpot lobs and then unleashes yet another thunderous forehand which Murray can only net.

Murray 5-2 Del Potro*
It seemed as though Murray would see out the set with ease but Del Potro has other ideas. The world number five's laser-guided forehand, and a couple of unforced errors from Murray, bring up an unlikely break point but Murray saves it and brings up set point. Del Potro comes up with a Federer-like inside out forehand to bring us back to deuce and then lashes another forehand winner down the line. Murray thinks he's saved a second break point with an ace down the 'T' only for Delpot to successfully challenge and breath life back into the set.

*Murray 5-1 Del Potro
Make no mistake, Del Potro is struggling out there. Murray, in truth, barely breaks sweat in moving to 40-15 on the Delpot serve. But the Argentine winds up for a couple of blistering forehands to save two set points and, somewhat surprisingly, comes through to close out the game. Bagel-talk over. Murray to serve for the set.

ajt_1989 on 606: "This is fantastic, he's playing so aggressively, it's like he's taken on board the public criticism."

Murray 5-0 Del Potro*
The first set is already within Murray's grasp. He storms through another service game and now Delpot is serving to stay in the set.

*Murray 4-0 Del Potro
Del Potro apologises to the crowd for taking an injury time-out and his charm-offensive goes down well with the 17,500 in attendance. Murray is less forgiving, however, and races into a 40-0 lead on his opponent's serve. Del Potro comes to the net to volley himself back into the game but Murray wraps up a second break of serve as Delpot nets.
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Colin in London via text on 81111: "Don't like this arena lighting format. Keeping the crowd in the dark and not being able to see the crowd's reaction to anything is weird."

Murray 3-0 Del Potro*
Fairly comfortable from Murray, who is looking a class above Delpot at this stage. After one of the rallies the Argentine looks at the sole of his right foot inquisitively. An injury perhaps? Delpot calls the trainer at the end of the game... but only to tend to a nosebleed.

*Murray 2-0 Del Potro
Both Murray and Del Potro are returning from wrist injuries but it is the British number one who looks by far the more comfortable out there. He's looking extremely sharp and Delpot a touch lethargic. Murray brings up break point and sends a fizzing passing down the line to grab an early break of serve.

Tim Henman on BBC Two: "Murray will be pleased to have faced a few pressure points early on and come through them well. Now we'll get out first proper look at Del Potro."

knowledge_is_good on 606: "Murray needs to be more aggressive, showed it on the last point.

Murray 1-0 Del Potro *
Battling opening service games from Murray, who could be overtaken by Del Potro in world rankings depending on how both men get on over the next week. Murray looks pumped up and gets his nose in front when Delpot twice nets. But the Argentine comes back with to superb forehand winners and brings up break point when Murray goes wide with a forehand of his own. The Scot saves with an ace and the gains an advantage of his own but goes wide with another forehand on break point. Del Potro frames a forehand horribly wide to give Murray a second game point and this time he takes it when Del Potro puts a tentative forehand into the tramlines.
* Denotes next to serve.


1428: Both players go through their warm-up routines and we should be off and running very soon. Team Murray are in position, desperate to see their man finish the year on a high.

1424: Del Potro leads Murray on to the 02 Arena's 'Centre Court'. The Argentine is warmly received and, predictably, Murray is given a wonderful reception. The Giant of the Pampas (Delpot) wins the toss and has elected to receive.

1418: Coverage of Murray-Delpot is live on BBC Two right now. But UK web users can get those pictures at the top of this page while reading the text commentary at the same time. So, obviously, I would urge you to stay right here. And you can get involved in the action yourself by text to 81111, 606 or Twitter

1415: A tame opening match to get us into the tournament? I think not. British number one and world number four Andy Murray takes on Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro, ranked a place lower his Scottish opponent.

1410: Eight of the world's finest male tennis players, one court, a prize fund of £3m. The waiting is over, London's 02 Arena is buzzing, the ATP World Tour Finals are upon us. I can feel your excitement. Let battle commence.




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see also
Murray beats Del Potro in opener
22 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Murray to face Federer in London
18 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis


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