Andy Murray won a tough contest against David Nalbandian winning 6-1, 4-6, 7-5
Murray broke Nalbandian in his first service game as the Argentinian threw in a few mistakes including a double fault to give Murray the early break.
Murray faced break points in his following game, but a couple of good points from the Brit gave him deuce and the game, for a 3-0 lead. Murray kept the pressure on Nalbandian in the following game and a beautifully crafted drop shot presented Murray with a break point. He opened his shoulder and brought his forehand to play, enforcing his early dominance on the match with a double break.
In the swirling clouds of red clay on the windy court, Andy faced pressure on his own serve from the Argentinian. With little fuss or fight Andy handed Nalbandian a break back to love, allowing him to get his name on the scoreboard with 4-1.
Both players showed their ability to move in the first set, with forays into the net from both. Fighting each other and the wind they played an intense sixth game as Nalbandian fought to hold serve and Murray to gain back the break. The longest game of the set by far gave the players a chance to showcase their skill with drop shots and long baseline rallies. Murray read his opponent well to open up the court and present advantages, but a mixture of his opponent’s ability, human error and the wind kept extending the game.
Murray’s speed and returning ability handed him a break point that Nalbandian’s fourteenth unforced error ended this seemingly pivotal game giving Murray a 5-1 lead. Andy followed up the longest game of the match with a simple and fast service game to take the first set.Read more (530 words)
The second set was for the most part a more balanced affair with both holding serve comfortably. Nalbandian was able to convert more points on his serve while Murray continued to look stable and under control for most the set. Both continued to play their preferred shots with more lovely drop shots from the Argentinian though Murray produced a stunning drop shot to hold 4-4, and Andy’s forehand also looked in good form.
After nine games going with serve, Murray’s serve dropped noticeably and Nalbandian upped the pressure as Andy served to stay in the set. Suddenly Murray was facing set points after a reasonably calm second set. The game suddenly resembled the sixth game of the first set but Nalbandian had the advantage. The Argentinian managed to break Murray and take the set 6-4.
Nalbandian opened the third set with a solid hold and the first few games went with serve. In the fourth game Murray let Nalbandian into the game and a cracking return handed Nalbandian a break point which he didn’t need to win as Murray hit his second double fault of the match to give Nalbandian the break to go 3-1 in the third set.
However, as is so often the case he then managed to lose his next service game to love to the Brit, putting them back on serve in the third. Murray then consolidated the break with a good service game that included some wonderful shots down the lines to win points. All this made easier by a first serve percentage of 80% so far in the third set.
Finally both players seemed to be playing better tennis at the same time with more intensity and excitement than the second set. The eighth game seemed crucial but Andy held comfortably, finishing it off with a beautifully crafted drop shot to rival the many coming off Nalbandian’s racket all match.
Both players continued to hold serve, with Murray raising his intensity in the ninth game, painting the lines and putting away a lob to ensure he held serve for 5-5.
Suddenly a couple of errors from Nalbandian and good returns from Murray handed the Brit three break points. Break points one and two the Argentinian defended well, but a net cord worked in Andy’s favour and he took the break for a 6-5 lead.
Nalbandian was not disheartened and a 26 shot rally was fought over the opening point of Andy’s service game. Another brilliant point by Nalbandian gave him a chance to break back. A superb backhand down the line gave the birthday boy deuce. Finally after 2 hours 40 minutes Murray gave himself the birthday gift he’d been aiming for with a win.
Nalbandian was on form today and Andy was tested in all areas of his game by the Argentinian. Especially in terms of the return game, Nalbandian gave Murray a taste of his own medicine and produced too many drop shots to count. It was a nerve-wrecking match for Murray’s fans as the level of play from both players was overall good. However, the Scot came through to win and will face either Gasquet or Lorenzi in the next round.