Murray fends off Baghdatis challenge

By for MurraysWorld.com on
Andy Murray came through a tough encounter against Marcos Baghdatis today, sealing a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory after nearly two hours on court to book his place in the quarter-finals of the London Olympic tennis event.

The third seed showed his steel, having to come from a set down against Baghdatis - another player who seems to find some of his best stuff against the Brit. Murray started slowly and seemed to be struggling to adapt to the windy conditions, but improved vastly as the match went on. After sealing victory in the 10th game of the deciding set he let out a roar of delight - no doubt relieved to have surpassed the tough test imposed by Baghdatis.

The Cypriot has proved a tricky customer in the past for Britain’s number one and so it proved once again, racing out of the blocks to break Murray in the very first game after a couple of tame errors from the Scot. Murray was able to break back just a couple of games later but was looking unsettled, and was struggling to find his first serve which had been such a big weapon in the previous two matches.

Both players seemed to be having problems trying to adapt to the conditions but it was the Cypriot who managed to regain the advantage. He broke Murray to love in the seventh game after some loose errors from the Brit before fending off a break point on his own serve.

Murray was still making too many silly errors and found himself facing set-points in the next game. However he managed to battle his way out of trouble with a couple of big forehands to force Baghdatis to serve for it. But the six-foot Cypriot showed his nerve, sealing the first set with a big serve out wide.

It was vital that the third seed got off to a better start in the second set, and a love hold was exactly what the doctor ordered. Baghdatis seemed to be feeling the pressure of the Wimbledon crowd and in the fourth game Murray managed to break through. The Scot took advantage of two double faults to break after the world number 45 missed a simple volley at the net.

It looked like Britain’s number one was going to hand the advantage straight back, after another error gave Baghdatis 0-30. But Murray showed his steel, coming back to hold serve with an ace to put himself in a dominant position in the second set. And in the next game he broke again, taking advantage of yet another double fault to seal the double break with a couple of stunning returns.

Murray was finding his form now and levelled the match with some big serving to take it to a decider. And the momentum was all with the Brit, breaking to love right at the start of the third and bringing the crowd to their feet with a brilliant diving volley.

The world number four was looking very assured by now and racing through his service games, with the serve fully firing. Baghdatis on the other hand was often coming under pressure behind the serve, largely down to Murray’s forehand which was firing on all cylinders. The Cypriot fended off a break point at 1-3 and another two at 2-4 with some big serving, but he was really hanging on in there as Murray looked for the insurance of a double break.

The Briton was not fazed however, and indeed hit what was arguably the point of the match with a magnificent cross-court pass after Baghdatis’ slice return caught the line. And moments later Murray was serving it out. The Cypriot caused a few nerves around the stadium after edging 15-30 up but a couple of errors handed Murray match-point, and he sealed the win with a huge forehand down the line.

Murray will now take on the 11th seed Nicolas Almagro in the quarter-finals. The Spaniard saw off Steve Darcis - conqueror of world number seven Tomas Berdych in round one. These two haven’t met since 2010, where Murray was victorious in Indian Wells after Almagro retired.
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Well done Andy!  yay
August 01, 2012, 06:53 PM
By janetx

Yeahhhhhhhhhhh well done. Now for Almagro. Does anyone know the head to head between Andy and Almagro?  yay cmon yeah
August 01, 2012, 07:07 PM
By psychological tennis

Let's Go Andy! Let's Go yay yay yay
August 01, 2012, 07:09 PM
By blueberryhill

Yeahhhhhhhhhhh well done. Now for Almagro. Does anyone know the head to head between Andy and Almagro?  yay cmon yeah

I know they played at Roland Garros in 2008 - Andy talks about it in his Jonathan Ross interview - he lost in 4 sets.
August 01, 2012, 07:14 PM
By Bevc

Yeahhhhhhhhhhh well done. Now for Almagro. Does anyone know the head to head between Andy and Almagro?  yay cmon yeah

2-1 to Andy.  Almagro won the Roland Garros one, Andy's won on hard courts, though Almagro retired during the 2nd win.
August 01, 2012, 07:16 PM
By Bevc

Good report clap

Almagro has been having a really good year he's got a win-loss ratio of 46-15 this year and had won two titles, so is riding high on confidence.
August 01, 2012, 07:18 PM
By Hazybear

Thanks for the report MH. You are on a roll.. just like Andy yes
August 01, 2012, 07:50 PM
By scotnadian

The report was a joy toread Mad Hatter. You've done both players justice.
August 01, 2012, 07:53 PM
By lashurst

Shocking things happening on court 14. Kei Nishikori bagelled David Ferrer in the first set, but Ferrer fighting back at 5 -2 in the 2nd.

I would never have thought he could give him a solid beating. So not only Andy having a shaky start.
August 01, 2012, 08:06 PM
By lashurst

Well done MH, excellent report.
August 01, 2012, 08:41 PM
By janscribe

This is the fascinating thing about tennis: you can play poorly in the first set and make us bite our nails, and from point to point you can observe Andy gaining control, swinging more freely, hitting more winners. Awesome. And his relief was so visible after the match. Thank God that he does not hide it.
August 01, 2012, 08:42 PM
By counter_ puncher

He does have a habit of starting slow, finding his way into the match then ending it somewhere near his best. Gasquet at RG was perhaps the best example of this, Ferrer at Wimbledon too. Lately he's definitely improved in this area though - the last four matches in a row (prior to today) he's got off to great starts. Today unfortunately it was the Murray of old first set, largely down to the conditions I imagine.

But we should know by now that we can have faith in Andy to turn it around, because he so often does. Mahut and Garcia-Lopez performances are more an anomaly than the norm, and performances like today, against Ferrer (Wimbledon), Gasquet (RG), Tipsarevic (Miami), etc do seem to happen quite often.

Almagro should be a good match but I'm confident Andy will get through it with relative ease.
August 01, 2012, 09:00 PM
By TheMadHatter

He does have a habit of starting slow, finding his way into the match then ending it somewhere near his best. Gasquet at RG was perhaps the best example of this, Ferrer at Wimbledon too. Lately he's definitely improved in this area though - the last four matches in a row (prior to today) he's got off to great starts. Today unfortunately it was the Murray of old first set, largely down to the conditions I imagine.

But we should know by now that we can have faith in Andy to turn it around, because he so often does. Mahut and Garcia-Lopez performances are more an anomaly than the norm, and performances like today, against Ferrer (Wimbledon), Gasquet (RG), Tipsarevic (Miami), etc do seem to happen quite often.

Almagro should be a good match but I'm confident Andy will get through it with relative ease.

Ah, but some will never get it because sometimes Andy does end up losing and it makes them feel right about their predictions.

Anyway, very nice and professional reports, MH on both occasion.
August 01, 2012, 09:10 PM
By Emma Jean

Up to today's match all Andy's matches have been under the roof, whereas Baggy has played all his outside therefore more used to the windy conditions, this I think is the reason that Andy had difficulty with his shots and serve. By the second set he was able to master the conditions.
August 01, 2012, 09:17 PM
By michelle

Well done Andy,so pleased for you yay
August 01, 2012, 09:18 PM
By caroline

My goodness MW is really making you work, MH!   Another excellent report though.  Really gives you the feel of the match, the end of which had my nerves in shreds even although I was sure Andy would prevail.  Baggy certainly wasn't going to go quietly.

Yes I know we should have faith in Andy, but he does seem to like giving his fans a few frights!  Also it's a bit disappointing that he's so easily put off if the playing conditions aren't right, as he seemed to be by the wind in the first set.  Hopefully the weather will be calmer tomorrow.

August 01, 2012, 09:18 PM
By Aileen

A bit of an upset - Kei Nishikori beat David Ferrer in 3 sets.

Very nice to see Nishikori having more success (sad for Daveed though, he's so good) he's got potenial that guy.
August 01, 2012, 09:29 PM
By lashurst

Andy has really impressed me in during the Olympics.  He seems to be hitting the ball great.  He came back strongly after a shaky start and seems to be carrying on with the same strong mental attitude that he showed during Wimbledon, by not letting the loss of the 1st set get to him.   
August 01, 2012, 10:54 PM
By alisonfiner

Nice report Mh..unfortuantely i didnt see the match but i now have a good idea of how it went down!

I agree Aileen it just takes him too long to settle sometimes, esp against lower ranked oppeants he just starts off dead cagey its like his automatic reaction is to put balls in play at the beginning of a match rather than start off positive. Which is why now I think he is a far better GS player than anything else because it takes him an hour to adapt to conditions/oppeants, and by that time he'll be a set and a break down in BO3!!
August 01, 2012, 11:50 PM
By Rachie

What Andy said:

“At the start of the match it was very windy and it pretty much continued that way,” said Murray. “After playing two matches indoors, where there's none of that to worry about, it did take me (time to get used to the conditions). I was pretty unsure of myself at the beginning of the match, didn't feel comfortable on the court.

“Then, yeah, managed to settle myself down and move my feet better to get in better position in the second set. Played some good tennis after that, but it was very, very different conditions to the first two rounds.”

more at http://2012.itftennis.com/olympics/news/articles/london-2012-day-5-murray-digs-deep-to-outlast-baghdatis.aspx
August 02, 2012, 12:00 AM
By Elena

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