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Page last updated at 17:51 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009

Murray v Verdasco as it happened



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By Chris Bevan

1750: Right then, that's all we've got time for at the moment - but obviously today's action is far from over. Andy Murray's hopes of reaching the last four of the ATP World Tour Finals rest on the outcome of Roger Federer's match with Juan Martin del Potro tonight... any two from those three will go through - I'll be back at about 1930 GMT to take you through that one. And yes, I'll be bringing my calculator. See you in a couple of hours folks...

From BBC Sport's Piers Newbery Tweeting from the O2 Arena: "Some of the finest minds in journalism are currently short circuiting here. Basically, pray for a Federer win unless you're Delpo mad."

1742: Forget what I said at 1733...yes, completely ignore it. Piers, who is at the O2 Arena, says the ATP have just made a new statement about how Group A will be decided, which is as follows: Any win for Federer will take Murray through but a straight-sets win for Del Potro would put the Scot out, while a three-set win for Del Potro would see it come down to the percentage of games won by Murray, Federer and Del Potro. Got that? Sorry for the uncertainty about this, but it appears even the ATP aren't sure about it!

1737: Andy Murray after his three-set win over Fernando Verdasco that keeps his hopes alive of reaching the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals: "It was an incredible match, probably the longest three-set match I've ever played. When he was down in the games he was serving a lot of aces, I was finding it difficult to return his second serve as well. The crowd is special. I think pretty much every match it's been packed and the tennis has been a very high standard."

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From valorousall4him on 606: "Murray did just enough to grind it out - well done. Now will Murray go through? Seems we have to wait and see."

1733: So, how does this result affect who will qualify from Group A? Well, if Roger Federer beats Juan Martin del Potro later tonight then Fed and Murray will reach the last four. If Del Potro wins in straight sets, the Argentine and Murray will go through. Only a three-set win for Del Potro will result in Murray's elimination.

Murray 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-3) Verdasco
Verdasco is moving a little awkwardly around the court and a backhand into the net from the Spaniard means the Scot has two serves for the match at 5-2. Verdasco does pull another point back, but a big serve by Murray puts him a point away from victory before wrapping up his win thanks to a wild volley from the world number eight. It hasn't been easy, or pretty, but Murray is the winner.


Murray 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-6 (4-2) Verdasco
Murray trades superb winners and silly errors in the early part of this tie-break but comes into the net to put away a superb volley and move 3-2 up before a double-fault by Verdasco puts the Scot a mini-break up at the changeover. Murray takes a swig of water and, roared on by the crowd, goes out looking to wrap this one up at long last. He needs three points to do just that.

Text in your views on 81111
From Ben FJ via text on 81111: "Why does Andy do this to us? What a rollercoaster ride. Just hope I am not sick at the end. Come on Andy!"

Murray 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-6 Verdasco
In answer to the question I posed below, Verdasco holds to love. Tie-break time, again. This one is going to the wire.
* Denotes next to serve

Murray 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-5 *Verdasco
That is just the game Murray needed - holding to love, after powering down his 19th ace of the match. Over to Verdasco then, and time to see what he has got up his sleeve. Murray is again just one game away from victory.
* Denotes next to serve

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From nigeweir on 606: "The best players on the planet battling it out, and its just ggrreeaaatt to have a Brit doing his stuff, and not being a pushover."

*Murray 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 5-5 Verdasco
Again, we are at 30-all - this time on the Verdasco serve when the Spaniard fizzes a forehand into the tramlines. Murray is two points away from victory but that is as close as he gets for now - yes, you guessed it - two huge serves see Verdasco through.
* Denotes next to serve

Murray 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 5-4 *Verdasco
At 30-all on the Murray serve, suddenly it is the Scot's hopes that are on a knife-edge - but he is probably due the bit of luck he gets on the next point, when Verdasco's forehand clips the net-cord and flies out. No fortune about the Murray backhand winner that follows, however, and he urges the crowd to get behind him as he heads for his chair at the changeover.
* Denotes next to serve

From BBC Sport's 5livetennis Tweeting from the O2 Arena: "Murray is missing so many break points... almost as many BPs as David Law tweets... Verdasco has served brilliantly on most of them though.."

*Murray 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 4-4 Verdasco
If anything, Verdasco's second serve has been more important to him than his first today... it has certainly come up trumps for him when it matters, and it does so here - helping him fight back from 15-30 to hold and haul himself level in this deciding set once again.
* Denotes next to serve

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From Mark Singer via text on 81111: "Come on Andy. Time to dig deep when it matters most. The true sign of a world class competitor."

Murray 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 4-3 *Verdasco
Murray's serve is definitely improving by the way, and it's giving him a bit of breathing space in this decider. Verdasco flashes at a couple of returns but they fly out and he doesn't look like adding to his solitary break point any time soon. Apologies if you're seeing a game description repeated below... give this page a manual refresh and it will disappear, as if by magic.
* Denotes next to serve

*Murray 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 3-3 Verdasco
It's been a while since we saw Murray roll off a cross-court backhand winner - he was doing it regularly in the first set - so it was a welcome sight to see him do just that to force deuce on the Verdasco serve. That's as good as it gets for the Scot, however, and his sloppy forehand on the next point is followed by a big serve by the Spaniard. Chance gone, I'm afraid.
* Denotes next to serve

From Julian Brown on Twitter: "Murray reminds me of a great big angry panda. Not sure why. He just does."

Murray 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 3-2 *Verdasco
This has turned into a real slog, for both players - and me and you too. The phrase 'war of attrition' springs to mind - so it's important for Murray that he keeps serving well* (* a lot better than he did against Federer on Tuesday) if he is going to come through and be in the mathematical shakedown this evening. He manages it here, despite a couple of trademark Verdasco forehands, and we are still with serve in the decider.
* Denotes next to serve

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From Blue_Phoenix on 606: "Verdasco has a poor backhand, so if Murray was playing balls to the backhand wing then Verdasco wouldn't be hitting as many winners - meaning Murray would probably have won already despite playing poorly."

*Murray 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 2-2 Verdasco
Verdasco's turn to mix up aces and double faults (well, just one of each actually) and Murray has another sniff at 30-all. Not for the first time, a big serve puts the Spaniard back on track and he repeats the trick to hold.
* Denotes next to serve

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From Dean via text on 81111: "Just a touch more fist pumping from Mustang Andy should see him through alright."

Murray 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 2-1 *Verdasco
At least Murray is getting plenty of practice to improve his serve, and it seems to be paying off. He holds to love - and in double-quick time too.
* Denotes next to serve

*Murray 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 1-1 Verdasco
I'm not quite sure what Murray has to do to win another break-point... he sees his 13th come and go when Verdasco produces another timely serve at 30-40 and, as Piers tweets below, he has only taken one of them. Unsurprisingly, the Scot howls in anger/anguish/frustration/all three. A lucky net-cord on a Verdasco drop volley adds to his sense of injustice, and the Spaniard goes on to hold.
* Denotes next to serve

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From The King of Spain - Managing intangible assests since 09 on 606: "Poor by Murray, he has to work hard to recover now and win the third set."

Murray 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 1-0 *Verdasco
That wasn't in the script was it? Oh well, Time for Murray to refocus, and move on. He starts the third set well enough, serving well enough to keep a perky-looking Verdasco quiet. I still wouldn't like to have to pick a winner of this one, though. Your thoughts?
* Denotes next to serve

From BBC Sport's Piers Newbery Tweeting from the O2 Arena: "Oh dear. Murray has made 1/12 break points so far and Verdasco 0/1. Should make for an interesting evening anyway..."

Murray 6-4 6-7 (4-7) Verdasco
Murray, to his credit, continues to dig in and is back on serve at 4-5. But Verdasco produces his best moment of this match with a chip and charge followed by a volleyed winner and, at set-point down, the Scot double faults. Oh dear. We're going to need a third set to decide the winner of this one, and a calculator to work out who will progress out of Group A.

Murray 6-4 6-6 (2-4) Verdasco
Verdasco takes the early initiative in the tie-break, with Murray screaming in anguish after seeing a forehand fly wide in the last point before the changeover, leaving him a mini-break down. This match has already passed the two-hour mark and (to state the blindingly obvious!) it could last a lot longer yet.

Murray 6-4 6-6 Verdasco
Great serving by Murray, including an ace to wrap up the game, and that means it is tie-break time. These two have faced each other in seven tie-breaks before... Murray has won them all. Confident?

1624: Boris Becker on BBC 2: "The story of this match has been Andy Murray having plenty of chances but being unable to take them. Things are still very much up in the air."

*Murray 6-4 5-6 Verdasco
Murray picks up in this game where he left off in the last, moving to 15-40 - and two break points - with some superb counter-attacking tennis, helped by some more errors by Verdasco. The Spaniard is suddenly fighting for his life, but hauls himself back to deuce and saves two more break points for good measure before holding. Murray looks to the skies (or roof) in frustration - he still has work to do to wrap this one up.
* Denotes next to serve

Murray 6-4 5-5 *Verdasco
Crikey - that got the crowd going! A double fault at 30-0 up seems to rock Murray and Verdasco comes out all guns blazing to force his first break point of the match - and a set point for good measure - with two massive returns. Murray's in trouble but he responds in the best way possible - with three huge serves that see him hold. Cue more fist-clenching from the Scot, with the spectators at the O2 Arena roaring their approval.
* Denotes next to serve

*Murray 6-4 4-5 Verdasco
Howls of frustration from Murray as once again he is undone by a Verdasco second serve and, all in all, this is a game for the Scot to forget with a succession of errors meaning he is nowhere near a break this time. As you've probably noticed, this has not been a match of high quality tennis but both players are gritting their teeth and battling on - a moment of inspiration from either could still swing it. Murray will serve to stay in the second set next.
* Denotes next to serve

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From slashermcguirk on 606: "Is it just me or is Verdasco the worst returner of serve!? Could you imagine Davydenko was returning serve in this match - that would be a very different story. It's not like Murray has a Roddick serve!"

Murray 6-4 4-4 *Verdasco
No such problems for Murray, who holds to love in a blink-and-you-miss-it service game that his opponent could do with next.
* Denotes next to serve

*Murray 6-4 3-4 Verdasco
Yep, Verdasco is still in trouble - mostly brought on by himself. At 40-0 up, he should he safe enough but a lapse in concentration seems to cost him on the next two points and, when a cross-court backhand drifts wide at 40-30, Murray is back to deuce. Typically, the Spaniard chooses that moment to up his game once more and a couple of big serves means he holds and this second set is still going with serve.
* Denotes next to serve

Murray 6-4 3-3 *Verdasco
No problems on serve for Murray, despite another double fault. That's his only wobble, and the Scot goes on to hold confidently enough. Now, can he keep up the pressure on Verdasco?
* Denotes next to serve

Text in your views on 81111
From Chris Rance in Bournemouth via text on 81111: "Trying to calculate some profit and loss rates, but keep losing track of the numbers with the match score going round in my head. Come on Murray you're good enough to win this tournament."

From BBC Sport's Piers Newbery Tweeting from the O2 Arena: "Many people hoping for Murray to win this in straight sets, nowhere more than in the media centre. Let's keep it simple, eh?"

*Murray 6-4 2-3 Verdasco
It was a big weapon for him earlier but Verdasco's forehand is now a bit hit and miss - literally. Murray senses an opportunity and, at deuce, is able to reach a weak backhand volley and pass Verdasco - who should really have put that one away. Even so, Verdasco's second serve digs him out of a hole on yet another break point and he eventually holds - he's not ready to give this one up just yet.
* Denotes next to serve

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From sisvale on 606: "Verdy will win this set before a bottle job in the third. Nadal aside, why do Spanish players have so much talent and so little bottle?"

Murray 6-4 2-2 *Verdasco
Murray is coasting again at 40-15 but he makes a real mess of a half-volley backhand on the next point before Verdasco hits a scorching forehand winner down the line to move to deuce. Costly for Murray? Well, no. Verdasco slams a forehand into the tramlines and then slices a backhand into the net. We're all-square in the second set.
* Denotes next to serve

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From Nik in Wiltshire via text on 81111: "White horses can't stop Murray today; although Mr Federer may have something to say in the final! Come on Murray."
I think Nik actually means 'wild horses'... if I were him/her, I'd put that one down to predictive text...

*Murray 6-4 1-2 Verdasco
After his problems in the last 20 minutes or so, Verdasco badly needs a routine service game and, by and large, he gets it. Some nice improvisation at the net by the Spaniard, plus a couple more of those rasping forehands, see him through.
* Denotes next to serve

Murray 6-4 1-1 *Verdasco
Not even a badly-timed camera flash can stop Murray holding with ease, with the O2 Arena crowd following Wimbledon tradition in applauding the warning (to the fan responsible) that the umpire subsequently dishes out. Back on court, that Murray serve seems to be coming good, at last - relatively speaking of course.
* Denotes next to serve

*Murray 6-4 0-1 Verdasco
From the way he has started this second set, you sense that Verdasco is on a bit of a knife-edge already - he might be on the verge of complete collapse. The Spaniard is far from convincing here, hitting an overhead ridiculously long, as he hands Murray two break points but saves them both before holding. Frustrating for Murray, but he just has to stay cool here - he is going to have a few chances to wrap this up.
* Denotes next to serve

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From BonessBairn14 on 606: "Good set by Andy , hopefully the first serve will improve this set . Verdasco is tiring, Murray should win this one."

Andrew Castle on BBC 2: "This match has seen a few ups and downs for Andy Murray so far but it doesn't matter how well or how badly he plays - it's all about him getting the job done."

Murray 6-4 *Verdasco
Hmmm, not exactly textbook from the Scot - who finds himself 0-30 down after two double faults. How does he respond? How about two aces and a thumping forehand winner. Not bad, but his usually reliable backhand lets him down on the next point and Verdasco is at deuce - this is a struggle. Twice more, Murray serves for the set, but fails, before, finally, a mistake by Verdasco sees him hold out. Phew. That first set took 54 minutes by the way.
* Denotes next to serve

*Murray 5-4 Verdasco
At last, Murray takes his chance - and in style. A Verdasco mistake gives the Scot a fifth break-point of the match and, when the Spaniard cannot finish an epic rally with a smash from one of the highest lobs I've ever seen, Verdasco's next shot sees him dump an easy backhand volley into the net. Murray will serve for the first set next.
* Denotes next to serve

Murray 4-4 *Verdasco
Another ace by Murray - he now has five to Verdasco's six - as he holds to love for the second successive game, sealing it with another one of those cross-court backhands into the corner. Verdasco can only stand and stare as it flies past him.
* Denotes next to serve

From BBC Sport's Piers Newbery Tweeting from the O2 Arena: "Sue Barker and team watching intently from the BBC gantry - they don't just switch over to Bargain Hunt you know. Cagey stuff on court..."

*Murray 3-4 Verdasco
Verdasco's big weapon so far is his forehand, Murray's is his backhand - and one sublime cross-court passing shot brings him to 30-all. A forehand into the net by Verdasco on the next point gives Murray his third break point of the match but the Spaniard produces a huge second serve to save it and two more big deliveries see him hold. Murray looks a tad dejected at the changeover, but he could do nothing about that.
* Denotes next to serve

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From benny007 on 606: "Serious note, this is very good from Murray. Finally we see some flair in his game with those returns."

Murray 3-3 *Verdasco
Verdasco makes a hash of a couple of second-serve returns and, after another ace, the Scot soon holds to love - simple as that. Murray has made only eight of his 18 first serves so far but four of them have been aces.
* Denotes next to serve

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From anon via text on 81111: In a codes maths lecture, desperately bored. Muzza to win in straight sets, but that serves needs to be improved upon!"

*Murray 2-3 Verdasco
Verdasco's looping top-spin forehands are a joy to watch and help him move Murray effectively around the court as he holds here. The Spaniard is still making the odd unforced error but he looks like he has found his feet after a slightly nervy opening.
* Denotes next to serve

Murray 2-2 *Verdasco
Murray's turn to feel the heat a tad, as a double fault leaves him 15-30 down. Still, he comes out on top after a tense exchange of backhands on the next point and a timely ace at 30-all is followed by a sizzling cross-court backhand winner. Great stuff, and we are all square at 2-2.
* Denotes next to serve

*Murray 1-2 Verdasco
On this evidence, Murray is going to have a few chances on Verdasco's serve today - this time the British number one finds himself at 15-30, albeit down to a fortuitous mis-hit, before the Spaniard recovers to hold. Verdasco is not serving badly, it's just that Murray is giving him plenty to think about with his returns.
* Denotes next to serve

Text in your views on 81111
From anon via text on 81111: We have a meeting room in our office with a large (licensed) flat screen tv. Told the boss i needed to book the meeting room for the afternoon, but he knows Murray is playing so quickly figured what i wanted it for!"

Murray 1-1 *Verdasco
Murray needs to serve a lot better today than he did against Fed on Wednesday - agreed? Can he deliver though? Well, two aces in his opening service game certainly help his cause - but one double fault doesn't, and Verdasco forces deuce before the Scot ups the ante to hold. By the way, I should clarify that if Murray wins in three sets, he will be out if Del Potro wins in straight sets (I contradicted myself initially at 1408, sorry!).
* Denotes next to serve

BBC Sport's Piers Newbery Tweeting from the O2 Arena: "Lots of "C'mon Andy!" shouts but some Verdasco fans too. No sign of last night's Nadal fan. Endless: "WE LOVE YOU RAFA!" Think she put him off."

*Murray 0-1 Verdasco
Almost the perfect start for Murray, who hits some sparkling backhands to put himself on the front foot against a nervous-looking Verdasco but sees three break points come and go. It takes him eight minutes, but the Spaniard survives - and holds.
* Denotes next to serve

1429: Here we go. Verdasco to serve first.

1428: For Murray today, the key will be his serve, which he described as being "pants" in the final two sets of his defeat by Roger Federer on Wednesday. Murray beat Del Potro in his first match - Verdasco has lost to Del Potro and Federer so far.

1426: On paper, Murray is the heavy favourite - he has beaten Verdasco in seven out of their eight meetings, including in the semi-finals of the Valencia Open earlier this month. The Spaniard, 26, is ranked a career-high eighth in the world and is in this end of season tournament for the first time.

1422: Boris Becker on BBC 2: There is no pressure at all on Fernando Verdasco - he is just happy to be here at all. It is all on Andy Murray, everyone is expecting him to win.

1420: Just a reminder that I'm expecting you lot to get involved today too. Tweet me gently on Twitter, text me via 81111, or drop me a line on 606. I'm waiting.

1418: Here come Verdasco and Murray now, to a hearty reception from the crowd at the O2 Arena. Looks a decent atmosphere too, as you would expect.

1414: Murray will be on court in a matter of minutes by the way. Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic have just wrapped up a 6-4 7-6 (11-9) win over Mahesh Bhupati and Mark Knowles.

1408: I should add that, if Murray wins in three sets, then he is through to the last four if Federer triumphs tonight, or if Del Potro wins in straight sets. However, Murray will be out if he wins in three sets and Del Potro also wins in three.

1402: The good news is that, as well as following the action here and on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra, you can watch it on BBC 2 and on this website. Aside from beaming it live to the inside of your eyelids, I can't do a lot more to keep you informed.

1400 GMT: Afternoon folks, I'll try to keep this simple. A straight sets win for Andy Murray against Spain's Fernando Verdasco today and he is into the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals. A defeat and Murray is out. Anything else and we will need our calculators, and have to wait for the end of Roger Federer v Juan Martin del Potro this evening, to find out which two players will progress. Got that? Good.

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see also
Murray suffers Tour Finals exit
27 Nov 09 |  Tennis
ATP Finals photos
27 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Davydenko wins to knock out Nadal
25 Nov 09 |  Tennis
In-form Soderling beats Djokovic
25 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Federer enjoys return to top spot
25 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Federer prevails against Murray
24 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Nervy Del Potro defeats Verdasco
24 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Murray beats Del Potro in opener
22 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Murray revels in London spotlight
22 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis

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