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Page last updated at 21:04 GMT, Friday, 24 June 2011 22:04 UK

Wimbledon 2011: Andy Murray v Ivan Ljubicic as it happened


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By Tom Fordyce at Wimbledon

Former Wimbledon champion John McEnroe on BBC TV: "There was fight throughout that match and in a way, it was more exciting. He has now put himself in a very good position, once again. He had to step it up against a more experienced player and he did just that and showed signs that he could go all the way - he was brilliant at times."

Andy Murray's former coach Miles Maclagan on BBC Radio 5 live: "Ljubicic was an opponent Andy would have respected and feared. Tonight was a real test, he came through and played some great stuff."

Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5 live: "You could see the relief - that was a tough match. Full credit to Ljubicic, he has played his part here. For a guy who doesn't like grass court tennis, that was a terrific performance."

2153: A word from the home hero as he staggers off the stage: "It was a tough one. Both of us were struggling a bit behind our second serves. When I served for the match he swung and made it. You'll have tough sets and you'll have to come through tough matches in Grand Slams. It's very intense here - I just need to serve better, but I returned well and I'm ready. I thought tonight's match was a very, very high standard."

2150: Ear-splitting celebration from the rammed arena, and why not - how badly wrong that could have gone, but he's made it - Richard Gasquet awaits on Monday. Murray marches on...

Murray 6-4 4-6 6-1 7-6 (7-4) Ljubicic
Here we go - Loobo to open out, Murray to the net... yes, made it, micro-break. Long, cagey exchange, Loobs long, 2-0. Ljubi to the net, pass on... missed. Mini-break gone. Huge serve, huge serve - 139mph, ouch - and Murray is 2-3 behind. Ace! 3-3. Seccond serve, punchy, Loob lashes long. 4-3. Long again! That's the mini break again, 5-3, Loobs in control but wide, and that's 6-3 - three match points, almost three hours gone. Wild why-not forehand from Loobs - in, 6-4. Big serve, ball sitting up, smashed away - HE'S DONE IT!

Murray 6-4 4-6 6-1 6-6 Ljubicic
Mmmm - big serve, no problems this time, 40-15. Cunning dropper, and into the tie-break we shall go...

* Murray 6-4 4-6 6-1 5-6 Ljubicic
Now then. Loobs into the net, 30-30. Backhand drifter long, 40-30, hammer of a first serve, game over. The wheel turns again - from a position of total authority, Murray must hold serve to stay in the set.

Murray 6-4 4-6 6-1 5-5 Ljubicic *
Nice stat from our friends at Infostrada: if Murray sees this one out, he'll be the second British player (in men's singles) in the open era to reach at least the 4th round in four consecutive Wimbledon editions. The first was Tim Henman, who did this nine consecutive times. Not quite there yet though - weak second serve, 15-30, nerves banging again around. Oh! Loobs find the best return of the day, and it's two break points. Never easy, is it? Big serve... good. Still one more. First serve long. Weak second serve, hammering reply - he's done him! Lord alive - and you know what, replays show that first serve was good - Murray should be home and hosed, but instead it goes on, and on, and on...

* Murray 6-4 4-6 6-1 5-4 Ljubicic
And so does Loobs. It'll come to a Murray serve. Deep breaths.

Murray 6-4 4-6 6-1 5-3 Ljubicic *
He holds, he holds at pace. One game away from the fourth round.

* Murray 6-4 4-6 6-1 4-3 Ljubicic
Took a quick courtesy break during that last game. Centre Court corridors full of dashing characters doing the same, panicked zipping and unzipping on the run, teased and tormented by the cheers and howls leaking through the old walls. Extraordinary shot from Murray, through the legs winner at the net - the game is lost, but the memory of that shot will stay with those watching for many long days.

Murray 6-4 4-6 6-1 4-2 Ljubicic *
Great return from Ljubicic but Murray is unflustered and smashes an ace and then a dazzling forehand pass but gets carried away with a drop shot that flops into the net. Time to drill it surely. Two good serves and he edges closer to victory.

* Murray 6-4 4-6 6-1 3-2 Ljubicic
Glorious double-handed backhand pass from Murray as the clock ticks til 2110. Dusk settling across south-west London, but Centre Court glows like a spaceship among the suburban streets. Huge serve from Ljubicic at 30-30, but that is wondrous from Murray - an angled dropper that has me losing any remaining vestiges of BBC impartiality, a blistering pass down the forehand side and a fizzing forehand that Loobi can only stretch into the tape. Break!

Murray 6-4 4-6 6-1 2-2 Ljubicic *
Two hours 11 minutes on the game clock. Murray mixes it up with a serve into his opponent's body, a mere 85mph but beautifully directed. Fierce volley that he can't keep down, but Loobs has left a gap there - whipped cross-court, celebrated with a yell by the Scotsman.

* Murray 6-4 4-6 6-1 1-2 Ljubicic
Now then. Is this it? At 40-15 Murray's gone, but a Loobs lob flies long and then a Murray reprise dips in. Break point, second serve, Murray in the rally... no no, spanked way long under no sort of pressure, and that is a huge miss. Murray furious, and when a dropper forces him into another netted error, the chance has slipped away. Had to take that, surely.

Murray 6-4 4-6 6-1 1-1 Ljubicic *
Oh, delightful from the Croatian - down into a crouch, biffing beautifully into the corner. 30-30. Even better pick-up off his toes, and he'll have break point. Dear oh dear. Murray... sensational winner down the line. Steely. A serve later he's levelled up - this match could hinge on such half-chances and moments...

Former British number one Greg Rusedski on BBC One: "Murray has lifted his game. He's serving better, getting a lot more first serves in and producing a lot more variety in his game with the drop shot and change of pace."

* Murray 6-4 4-6 6-1 0-1 Ljubicic
And so. It's swung this way and that so far, the players taking it in turns to dominate. Who will stand tall now? Ladyfriend Kim Sears sips a carbonated beverage in the VIP seats, and Murray will have to wait for any break, Loobers forcing him into a low, hurried backhand.

Text in your views on 81111
Malcolm in Aberdeen via text to 81111 "Make sure you get a haircut and shave for the final Mr Murray cos you want to look your best when you lift that on."

Murray 6-4 4-6 6-1 Ljubicic *
133mph serve rom Muzzington, and that's his quickest of the match. Long from Loobs, fist-pump from Murray, two sets to one lead taken...

* Murray 6-4 4-6 5-1 Ljubicic
Loobers ducks the bagel. It won't affect this set, but it should mean he'll serve first in the next.

Andy Murray's former coach Miles Maclagan on BBC Radio 5 live: "Andy's relaxed and cruising here. He's really focussed and on a roll - things are going his way."

Murray 6-4 4-6 5-0 Ljubicic *
Sport, you crazy old game. Murray has transformed from angry, weak-wristed wobbler into dominant destroyer. He'll have this set, no doubt about it - can he keep the charge going into the fourth?

* Murray 6-4 4-6 4-0 Ljubicic
Lovely glimpse of former England hooker Brian Moore in the crowd. He looks like he's ready to wade through the punters, grab Loob by the ears and nut him into next week. Honestly - he's jumping, shaking his arms, rolling the head, scratching his ba... oh, that's a little unsavoury. Ljubicic now on the wobble, possibly having spotted that alpha male display from the stands - broken, broken to bits, and Murray has taken dramatic hold of this contest.

Murray 6-4 4-6 3-0 Ljubicic *
Mama Judy goes ripe bananas at that success, and her son responds with his best service game of the match - hold to love, done and dusted before his mother's cheers have come back off the roof.

BBC Sport's Mark Ashenden, watching Murray-Ljubicic from Court One, Twitter: "'Bucketing down. 11 couples cuddling under brollies. Plenty of Ljubicic cheers in fading light. Muzz-fanometer reads 'concerned'. #bbctennis"

* Murray 6-4 4-6 2-0 Ljubicic
Here we go - could this be the start of something? Dreamy dropper, followed by a ravishing backhand down the line for 0-30. 123mph serve for 15-30, Loobs backhand into the net for 15-40. "COME ON!" shouts an anxious spectator, speaking for all those around him. Wonderful serve to save one, but Loobs is on the back foot - feeble backhand into the net and Murray - at last! has a break...

Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5 live: "Ljubicic absolutely dominated and deserves the 1-1 scoreline. Murray was lucky the last set wasn't worse than it was."

Murray 6-4 4-6 1-0 Ljubicic *
Brown, bare patches inching out along the service line; not a scar in by the net. Sign of the times. Murray sprints in to stop-volley at 40-30 but then slices his next approach onto the tape and down. Bigger first serve, safe - for now.

* Murray 6-4 4-6 Ljubicic
Not a sniff. The Loob serve is relentless, a machine grinding its way through Murray's hopes. A set apiece, and this could go on and on.

Murray 6-4 4-5 Ljubicic *
Finally the Murray serve starts to kick. He's only winning 38% of points on his second serve, but when the first one lands - as it does only 53% of the time - he can hold with ease. Break now or we're level pegs.

* Murray 6-4 3-5 Ljubicic
Loobs' sweatband atop his bald head looks quite ridiculous, like an elastic band around an egg. Maybe we'll all start wearing them, though, because at this rate he's going to take charge of the match.

Murray 6-4 3-4 Ljubicic *
Nerves clang like fire alarms as another double-fault from Muzzington has him canting at 30-30. Sweet, sweet backhand pass, crisp second serve to squeak home. Real drop-off in form from Murray in this second set, but he remains within touching distance.

Text in your views on 81111
Claire and Camilla, cold but happy on Court One, via text to 81111 "Big crowd on Court One cheering on Andy. Watching it on the screens that normally display the score! Most seats under the cover are taken and there's a good atmosphere in here."

* Murray 6-4 2-4 Ljubicic
Murray anticipating Loobi's charge to the net this time, and he'll drill that past the big man all day long. Brutal 130mph serve for 30-30, lovely raking forehand/stop-volley combo for 40-30. Big serve, Murray forced to guess, game in the bag. One hour 11 minutes gone, the result anyone's to guess.

Andy Murray's former coach Miles Maclagan on BBC Radio 5 live: "When Andy's in a good frame of mind, which I think he is tonight, that anger can fuel him and push him on."

Murray 6-4 2-3 Ljubicic *
Ljubi in to the net again, punching away a volley as Muzzington stands stranded. Has the Briton tweaked his knee there? Small slide, and he flexes it gingerly. Think we're okay. Bigger serve, reply long, serve held. Now for the break.

* Murray 6-4 1-3 Ljubicic
A little serve-volleying from Loobers, the oldest man left in the men's singles, and he maintains his margin to a concerned smattering of applause.

Text in your views on 81111
Michael in Perth via text to 81111 "Can't believe the record Ljubicic has at Wimbledon, was such a top player a few years back I can't believe he has more defeats than wins here. And when he was actually in his prime his game suited grass so well. Amazing."

Murray 6-4 1-2 Ljubicic *
Strange old thing, self-belief - so skittish, so fickle. That volley might help restore a little, that double-fault leach a little more away. Punters stand and stretch tightening legs and knocking knees as the two foes slurp water.

Andy Murray's former coach Miles Maclagan on BBC Radio 5 Live: ""Ljubicic is dangerous, he's coming to the end of his career and he enjoys these chances to go out and win against the top players."

* Murray 6-4 0-2 Ljubicic
Loobs suddenly believing again here, just at the point when Murray had all the momentum. Sloppy, and no-one's angrier at Murray than himself - a rant, a rave, a slam of the racquet at an invisible foe as he drifts a backhand pass long.

Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5 Live: "Ljubicic will be sitting there thinking 'I've thrown everything at Murray and I've been broken twice' - I'm not sure what his plan B is."

Murray 6-4 0-1 Ljubicic *
Classy, classy stuff from the Scotsman. To win three games on the bounce, including successive breaks of the Ljubicic serve, is an indication of the form he can find. Mama Judy on here feet there in the VIP slots, her bright pink blazer and rebel yell drawing all eyes. He has to be careful at the start of this second set though - brought to the net for a poor dinked reply, double-fault for break point.... hmmm, double-fault again to hand over the advantage on a polished platter.

* Murray 6-4 Ljubicic
Murray drills one onto the baseline - Ljubicic will challenge that all he likes, it bit the line. Whoah - huge miss from Murray, battered so far beyond the basline it almost hits the backboard on the full. Loobers in to the net, lobbed beautifully for two set points. The first is lost to a forehand long off a whipped serve, the second - forehands exchanged, Murray taking a little more control with every shot, dictating, tightening the vice... winner!

Saturday's order of play has just been announced and Serena Williams is back on Court One after complaining about being on Court Two in her last match. Caroline Wozniacki opens the action on Centre Court against Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova, followed by Roger Federer v David Nalbandian and then Marcos Baghdatis v Novak Djokovic. Serena is second on Court One for her match against Maria Kirlenko after Rafael Nadal v Gilles Muller. Robin Soderling against Aussie Bernard Tomic concludes the action."

Murray 5-4 Ljubicic *
Still cagey, still a little nervy out there. Wave of noise around Centre as Murray holds, and Loobers must now hold to stay in the set. Let's see how he likes those apples.

John McEnroe
Three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe on BBC One: "Ljubicic is a player. He's very capable of the spectacular win here and there. He's regained his confidence and is playing better again. He's a former number three in the world and has been in the semis of a Grand Slam so he knows what he's doing and this is a great opportunity for him."

* Murray 4-4 Ljubicic
The worry with Loobs, if he breaks you, is how you might get that break back against such a mighty serve. He might have a poor record at Wimbledon over the years (eight wins, 10 defeats) but his game is in many ways beautifully built for grass. Here's one answer - change the pace, mix up the slicers and top-spinners, wait for Loobers to drag an under-cooked forehand wide. Break point. First serve... wide. Second serve... wide again! Double-fault to the rescue - some might poo-poo the notion of cheering another man's misfortune, but a large slice of this Centre Court crowd do not.

Murray 3-4 Ljubicic *
Nervous bloke in the crowd there - tartan tam o'shanter, ginger wig glued underneath. The Murray second serve a worry - Ljubicic piles into it, and Murray's in deep trouble - into the net to cut off a break point, and - no! stuffed into the net. Break stolen away - if anyone thought this might be an evening stroll for the home favourite, that might put them right.

* Murray 3-3 Ljubicic
Murray mopping sweat off brow and racquet grip at the changeover. Double-fault from Loobers, who has decided to don a white towelling headband to keep the sweat from dribbling down his shaved pate into his eyes. Fierce hitting from the back, Loobs goiong wide - break points aplenty. Loobs with a dropper - Murray can't make that, surel... he can, flicking cross-court, Loob surely out of it... no, what a flick from what an angle! Weasley loves that, his chum loves that, the whole crowd love that. Big serve saves another one, but now Murray crashes a backhand down the line as his opponent dashes in - the volley is wild, and he'll have another break point. Saved with another huge serve, and a brace of nerveless volleys at the net allow the Croatian to wriggle off the hook.

Murray 3-2 Ljubicic *
A chap there in a blue retro Top Gun t-shirt, clapping with slightly manic enthusiasm. That's what this game does to you. We've all been there. Huzzahs from all around as a sixth ace of the match continues Murray's steady start.

* Murray 2-2 Ljubicic
Ron Weasley of Potter fame in the Royal Box there. Good lad. Not sure about the purple blazer nor crinkled-floppy fringe, but still. Murray with some magic of his own (sorry - we all know that was inevitable), second-guessing the line-judge for a successful Hawk-Eye challenge. Loobs responds with a backhand creamed down the line and then aces again down the middle to draw level. Just hearing that play on the outside courts has been abandoned for the day.

Murray 2-1 Ljubicic *
Ljubicic needs to win this first set, you feel, if he's to unseat the Great British Hope. Lovely backhand service return for a clean winner, spanking forehand attempted pass that Murray can only stretch-volley into the net, and a hurried double-fault sets up the first break point of the contest. Nervy. Now then. Big first serve, forehand whipped into the open space created, ace at 132mph to follow - danger averted. Relieved applause from all around the famous old arena.

John McEnroe
Three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe on BBC One: "Ivan Ljubicic is not a threat to win the tournament but he is a threat to beat anyone on a given day. Maybe the pressure isn't so great, it's gravy here for him. Murray is starting to get things going but the second week is going to be way, way tougher. But we're getting ahead of ourselves, he needs to get through Ljubicic. I had a list of the 10 best servers ever and he might have been on it, but he doesn't move as well as the top players on grass."

* Murray 1-1 Ljubicic
All about the serve for Loobs, not just the power and accuracy of his big weapon but also the variety and pace on his second serve. He might be 32 years of age now, but there's danger in them there arms. Ace down the middle, flashing forehand into the Murray forehand corner.

Murray 1-0 Ljubicic *
They've met six times before, these two, with the wins at three apiece. Loobers won the latest of these, straight sets in Beijing last year. Another omen? Murray's played three times under this Centre Court roof and never lost; Loobs is making his lid-on debut. Splendid start from Murray, crashing away two aces; a double-fault follows, but when the Croatian goes long with a forehand. Murray is on the march. * denotes next server

1852: An old-fashioned atmosphere on Centre, despite the new-fangling of the roof overhead - anticipation, excitement and nerves all mixing into a heady, boisterous soup. Lace with Pimm's, sprinkle in some home-made sandwiches and complete with some chomped-upon strawberries.

1850: We've all had to wait, and no-one enjoys waiting. But we're good to go now, so let's push those moans to one side and prepare for a splendid sporting ding-dong on this soggy Friday night.

All times in BST.

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see also
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Rusedski on Murray v Ljubicic
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Henman on Murray
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Inside the mind of a champion
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Sharapova rallies to beat Robson
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Wimbledon day five photos
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Murray v Kamke as it happened
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Murray through in straight sets
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Men's singles results
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Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles results
21 May 10 |  Results
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis

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