Andy Murray survived a second set scare at Wimbledon today to beat 20th seed Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-1.
The Brit didn’t have all it his own way on centre court against a resurgent Youzhny. Murray found himself in trouble down 2-5 in the second set, but he rallied to take it on a tie-break before running away with the third set.
Youzhny started the match very aggressively, looking to put himself on the front foot. Murray had to weather the storm in his first game, but once he did he turned the tables, breaking the Russian in the next game to seize the early lead.
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Youzhny was trying to mix things up in an effort to throw Murray off his game, including several drop shots and constantly looking to attack the net. But despite his efforts he couldn’t find a way past Murray’s thundering serves, and the Brit eventually took the first set 6-4.
The world number two looked to be in complete control as he broke early in the second after a brilliant sequence of points; unleashing his full arsenal as he hit a delightful drop shot, a stunning top spin lob winner and then a trademark running forehand pass to break.
But then it all turned around.
A lax game from Murray allowed the Russian to break straight back, and an energised Youzhny started to impose himself on the match. The 20th seed was dictating with his powerful backhand, and an increasingly agitated Murray was struggling to stay with him. At 3-2 Youzhny found himself with another break point, and the Brit duly double faulted to hand the Russian the lead.
Youzhny raced 5-2 ahead, and it appeared to be only a matter of time before the match was all square. But a couple of tight points from the Russian gave Murray an opening, and he took full advantage, breaking back with a rasping backhand winner.
The tension continued to rise as the set moved towards a tie-break, and it was Murray who again seemed to be the most nervous – double faulting yet again as he fell 3-5 down. But Murray’s incredible resilience came to the fore. The Brit came roaring back to win the next four points in a row, sealing the set with a stunning return that sent the crowd to their feet.
The relief around centre court was palpable, although Youzhny wasn’t going away just yet. The Russian caused a few more problems in the opening game of the third set, but after Murray fended off the break points his resolve seemed to waver. A poor game from Youzhny saw him broken to love, and after that Murray was like a runaway train. The second seed stormed to a 5-1 lead before serving it out with a serve and volley winner, sealing his place in the quarter-finals for the sixth time in a row at Wimbledon.
In the quarter-finals Murray will face an old nemesis in Fernando Verdasco, who saw off Kenny De Schepper in straight sets earlier today to make his first grand slam quarter final since 2010.