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Andy Murray v Ernests Gulbis as it happened

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By Saj Chowdhury

1954: That was a touch old match for Murray. He now faces American wild card Mardy Fish in the last eight. Murray said after his win over Chardy that he wants a "night match" in order to avoid playing in the heat again. Fingers crossed for the Scot. Thanks for your company.

ANDY MURRAY BEATS ERNESTS GULBIS 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4)

Gulbis 6-4 3-6 6-7 (4-7) Murray
First mini-break for Murray and the Scot then transforms his following two serves to points - although Gulbis should have passed Murray with the second. Murray challenges his second serve of two and the computer agrees with him. Gulbis tries again and this time the sun blinds him as he fails in his attempt to smash a winner - it all goes pear-shaped for the Latvian. 5-1 to Murray. Murray wins a long baseline rally to earn five match-points. He takes the fourth when Gulbis's forehand return is too long. A really, really energy-sapping encounter. Not pretty, but fascinating.

Gulbis 6-4 3-6 6-6 Murray
I've spotted one Scotland flag in the court. Murray needs all the support he can get from the sparse crowd. Gulbis wins the first point with another superb backhand return. But Murray holds - it's tie-break time.

Gulbis 6-4 3-6 6-5 Murray *
Not a great time for a double fault from Gulbis to give Murray a 30-15 advantage. The Latvian redeems matters with a lovely backhand down the line. Gulbis holds serve.

* Gulbis 6-4 3-6 5-5 Murray
Great disguise from Gulbis on a return leaving Murray bemused at the net. 15-15. Gulbis is rushing matters now which doesn't help his cause. A mishit forehand takes the game to 40-15 and another mishit from Gulbis hands Murray the game.

Gulbis 6-4 3-6 5-4 Murray *
A love service game for Gulbis. The Latvian is one away from a famous win.

* Gulbis 6-4 3-6 4-4 Murray
Both players have made 20 unforced errors in the match prior to this game. Hmmm. Murray really does not look like he can be bothered to move around the court. Gulbis returns Murray's second serve with a brilliant forehand - 30-30. He then forced Murray to hit long after a great rally. It's break point, but Murray saves. He earns another with a stunning backhand pass which is too low to pick up. Murray saves again. The Brit manages to hold.

The sun is out
Gulbis 6-4 3-6 4-3 Murray *
I think both are looking for a final battle at high noon aka tie-break. Gulbis holds easily. It's very hot by the way, hence the sunshine graphic. It looks pretty too.

* Gulbis 6-4 3-6 3-3 Murray
Murray holds to love again. Both have their poker faces on.

Flouorescent_Imp on 606 : "Murray can't keep having his serve broken like this if he wants to win at Flushing Meadows. Something a coach could help with perhaps...?"

Gulbis 6-4 3-6 3-2 Murray *
Gulbis plays one of the shots of the match when he fools Murray with a lovely backhand lob from the baseline. The Latvian then fires an express-delivery backhand down the line to win the game on his serve. Pressure back on Murray. They both take to the chair to cool down.

* Gulbis 6-4 3-6 2-2 Murray
Murray holds again with a solid service game. Gulbis wasn't given many chances in that game.

Gulbis 6-4 3-6 2-1 Murray *
Gulbis holds serve again. He's dictating, coming to the net to slam dunk a backhand winner across the court to take the game.

* Gulbis 6-4 3-6 1-1 Murray
Murray makes heavy work of holding serve after losing the first two points. He pulls the deficit back but Gulbis earns a break point and finally punishes a Murray second serve to break back. Murray changes his racket.

Gulbis 6-4 3-6 0-1 Murray *
Gulbis plays his first dud drop volley - is the pressure getting to him? Murray is beginning to chase down everything - a trademark of the Scot - it's causing the Latvian some concern. Murray has break point and is unlucky to see a potential backhand winner clip the net. The British number one earns another with a brilliant low forehand return. He then forces Gulbis out wide on the next point and forces the world number 27 to make an error on his backhand.

slashermcguirk on 606 : "This is precisely why Gulbis rarely wins anything, he just cant keep it together consistently, blows so hot and cold. He always has lapses in concentration"

SECOND SET

It's good news for a Briton
* Gulbis 6-4 3-6 Murray
Murray earns three set points and takes the first with an ace down the middle. He's looking good again.

Gulbis 6-4 3-5 Murray *
Gulbis holds his serve and forces Murray to serve for the set.

Text in your views on 81111
Anon via text: "Re: el che, It really irritates me, the amount of people that play down Andy's mental strength/technical ability. He beat Nadal and Federer on his way to the Rogers Cup on Sunday, if you hadn't noticed?!"
He did, you know

* Gulbis 6-4 2-5 Murray
Murray holds to love. Not sure if he's entirely happy to be possibly playing a third set in this heat.

Gulbis 6-4 2-4 Murray *
Now then, now then. Murray wins an exquisite rally then he earns two break points with a fantastic backhand smash. Gulbis saves the first, but his attempt to save the next fails when he misjudges his smash.

From BBC Radio 5 live tennis on Twitter: "PS:Murray with work to do, he's a set down to Gulbis, i think they share the same hairstylist, Gulbis's is just a bit beefier"

* Gulbis 6-4 2-3 Murray
Murray has two game points but Gulbis plays yet another crafty drop-shot which the Scot fails to pick up. But another kicking second serve is once again wastefully and wildly returned by Gulbis. Murray holds and retreats to his chair and ice towel.

Gulbis 6-4 2-2 Murray *
Murray forces the issue by coming to the net before Gulbis plays his shot - the Latvian panics and loses the points. But Gulbis pulls a beauty out on the bag when a hooked forehand clips the line. The Latvian holds and isn't showing signs of stuttering yet.

el che on 606 : "All smoke and not flames. Andy when will you show us that you got game?"

* Gulbis 6-4 1-2 Murray
Murray comes in and finds the net again - the scores move to 30-30 and then to deuce. Gulbis has break point but Murray saves with a deep serve. Gulbis earns another break point with a deft drop-shot. The Latvian fluffs up his lines on Murray's kicking second serve. Gulbis then earns another break point with a punishing shot down the line. Murray saves again. The world number four, rather more characteristically, wins a baseline rally then powers down a first serve to hold serve.

Gulbis 6-4 1-1 Murray *
Murray is playing most of his shots to Gulbis's forehand - supposedly his weaker side. But the Latvian is coping well and playing cross court back to Murray's weaker side, which the Scot isn't coping as well with. Gulbis holds with a heavy first serve.

* Gulbis 6-4 0-1 Murray
Murray avoids the start he made in the first set by holding serve - to love.

Text in your views on 81111
Murray fan via text: "Murray needs to treat this as second week of a slam. By now in a slam he would have played many more sets. Apart from playing Federer in the finals, I think one of the reasons he hasn't won a slam yet is because his energy and concentration dips in the second week."

FIRST SET

It's bad news for a Briton
Gulbis 6-4 Murray *
Murray has another go at himself after his forehand return fails to make it a foot above the surface. Gulbis has two set points. He takes the second with an ace down the middle. What will see from Murray in the second set?

* Gulbis 5-4 Murray
Murray holds with another serve that kicks up into Gulbis's 6ft 3in frame. The Latvian will look to sew up the set on his own serve.

Gulbis 5-3 Murray *
Murray's approaches to the net haven't paid dividends. On this occasion he comes in but fails to control a punched return. Gulbis then shows how it's done by coming in and zipping one down the line with Murray stranded on the other side.

* Gulbis 4-3 Murray
With the scores at 30-15, the stats show that Gulbis has won 18 points from the baseline while Murray has won just nine. But hey, they're stats for just the first six games. The Scot holds serve after coming to the net and punching a shot past Gulbis. Can he break the Latvian again?

Gulbis 4-2 Murray *
This seems to be a bit of stroll for Gulbis - he looks comfortable coming short or playing from the back. A sign of confidence on the court. having said that, Murray has break point though after a call goes against Gulbis. Murray then earns a break back after his opponent double faults. Funny ol' game this.

sarah tennis on 606 : "I know its early days but I don't have a good feeling for AM."

* Gulbis 4-1 Murray
Murray's mixing up his serves but Gulbis is coping well. A cheeky drop-shot, which the Latvian is more than adept at, takes the game to deuce before he pounces on a weak Murray second serve to earn a break point. The Scot saves. Gulbis earns another break point and takes it after Murray's forehand clips the net and bounces back on his side of the court.

Gulbis 3-1 Murray *
Murray sees a break-back chance when he moves to 0-30 on Gulbis's serve. The Latvian bounces back but double faults to take the game to deuce. Murray then carves out a break-point with a dipping angled forehand winner. Gulbis saves. Following a long deuce game, Gulbis comes out of top after a long forehand from Murray is called out. Murray's racket has already come in contact with the surface and his shoe.

* Gulbis 2-1 Murray
Much better from Murray. Tweaked his serve so that it kicked up into Gulbis, denying the Latvian the chance to swing. Worked a treat. The court plays Edie Brickell while the players take a chair break.

Gulbis 2-0 Murray *
Gulbis wins his first service game to love - routine. Murray has yet to find his range from the back of the court. The Scot will need to find it soon because the Latvian has settled.

* Gulbis 1-0 Murray
Murray to serve. Gulbis underlines how powerful he is in his strokeplay, battering down a forehand to win the first point. Murray is faced with an early break point and is broken after Gulbis flashes back his forehand return with a lot of interest.
* denotes NEXT to serve

1712: It's another lovely day in Cincinnati, Ohio. Again, not too many people in Center (Centre) Court. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to follow - these guys are spoilt. I hope they get the crowds in this 11,000-seater stadium.

Text in your views on 81111
Anon via text: "I have a feeling it could be a long three sets for Andy today . If he is not fatigued he should win in three."

1710: Head-to-head - Murray and Gulbis have met on four occasions and the Scot has beaten the Latvian every time. Murray has only dropped one set against Gulbis and his last victory came at the US Open back in 2009.

1706: The players are out on court. Murray's wearing blue and white again. Gulbis is in navy blue and white and is sporting a light beard and moustache combo.

1705: Now, I can tell you guys are desperate for some chat on Latvia's finest. Well, he's 21, 6ft 3in, hails from the capital Riga and is a big hitter. According to his ATP page Gulbis comes from a sporty family - two of his sisters play tennis while his younger brother Kristops is pursuing a golfing career. His grandfather was a starter for the former Soviet Union national basketball team. I wonder what the conversation's like in Ernests' household? He is currently at a career-high world number 27, Ernests not his grandfather, and beat Ivo Karlovic in the final of the Delray Beach International this year, to land his first ATP title. The first Latvian to win a ATP World Tour title. Well done.

From Andy Murray on Twitter: "Breakfast at Panera Bread. Low fat strawberry smoothie, strawberry granola parfait, bagel cream cheese. Awesome. Driving to crts with Dani."
My breakfast menu is ever so slightly different...

1700: Hello all and welcome to coverage of Andy Murray's third-round match at the Cincinnati Masters against Latvia's Ernests Gulbis. World number four Murray had a bit of a strange opener against Jeremy Chardy on Wednesday. He looked pretty comfortable in the first set and then appeared frustrated in the second after the Frenchman began to find his range with his forehand. Chardy had some time with his trainer during a time-out which gave Murray time to slap himself across the face, metaphorically, before cruising through the third set. It was like that second set never happened. Anyway, he's now gone six games unbeaten following his Canadian Masters win. Again, like yesterday, if you want to tweet, text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) with TENNIS before your message, or post on 606 then that would be much appreciated.




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see also
Murray fightback sees off Gulbis
19 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Shaky Murray wins in Cincinnati
18 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Cup win boosts Murray for US Open
16 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Murray sees off Federer in final
15 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Querrey beats Murray in LA final
02 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Murray in no rush for new coach
08 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Murray looking for new direction
29 Jul 10 |  Tennis


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