Andy Murray was knocked out of the Madrid Masters after being defeated 7-6(3), 6-4 by world number six Tomas Berdych in the quarter-final stage.
The British number one had his opportunities in the first set, but was unable to take advantage and paid the price, wilting under the pressure of the world number six. However, despite the defeat, Murray will still return to world number two on Monday.
The Scot created a break point opportunity in the very first game, but as in his previous matches he struggled to take advantage, and the Czech was able to hold. Both players were finding much success behind their serve, and the opening six games went routinely.
But in the seventh game, Murray found a way through. A few loose errors from Berdych aided the Brit to a second break point, but the Czech man refused to bow down easily and threw everything at Murray to try and save it. Scampering along the baseline the Brit got everything back, including with a high defensive lob, before finding a stunning forehand pass to seal the break and open up a 4-3 lead.
Berdych’s response was instant. With the aid of a double fault, the world number six opened up a break back point with a couple of sizzling winners. Murray fended it off with an ace, and both players traded blows before Berdych opened a second break point with a stunning lob. And this time the Czech player took full advantage; getting himself on top of the point before hitting a cute drop volley to level the affair.Read more (262 words)
The match continued to ebb and flow, and another marathon game at 4-4 saw Berdych fend off four more break points. But the world number two-in-waiting couldn’t take advantage, and the Czech edged back in front. This time it was Murray’s turn to respond, and respond he did; a love hold to put the pressure right back on Berdych.
A hold apiece saw the match move towards a tie-break, and it was the sixth seed who looked to take the game by the scruff of its neck. Stepping it up, Berdych reeled off five of the first six points before taking the breaker 7-3, after a Murray backhand floated wide.
The momentum continued to shift back and forth in the second set, as both players traded breaks before Murray had to fend off more break points in the third game. But the Scot reeled off four points in a row to hold, and edged ahead in the second set.
The third seed then carved out yet more break points in the following game, but a couple of trademark drive vollies from Berdych saw off the danger. And a loose game from the Brit in the next service game allowed Berdych to regain his advantage, breaking to love.
By now Berdych was in complete control, and although Murray desperately fought to stick with him, the Czech player was unrelenting and sealed the victory after a Murray forehand drifted wide.
Next up for Murray will be the Rome Masters next week. The Brit lost to Richard Gasquet in the third round there last year.