London - Andy Murray pulled off a dramatic comeback from two sets down to beat
Fernando Verdasco in the Wimbledon quarter-finals and keep up home
hopes of a first British champion since 1936.
The second seed
defeated the 54th-ranked Spaniard 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 in a thrilling
match on Centre Court that lasted nearly three and a half hours.
Murray faces Poland's Jerzy Janowicz in Friday's semi-finals after the 24th seed beat compatriot Lukasz Kubot in straight sets.
came through an incredibly tough match. It could have gone the other
way. I found a way to get through and that's all you need," said Murray,
the US Open and Olympic champion.
"I started to play more solid and really took my time when I had the chance.
"Towards the end it was an unbelievable atmosphere. It was great to get through that one."
closest rivals Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
already out of his half of the draw, the weight of expectation from
British fans and media was all on the 26-year-old's shoulders.
know how good these players are and it's everyone else who keeps trying
to say that they're not," he said of his opponents, calling Verdasco
Fans inside the 15,000-seater court were on their feet as Murray came back from the brink.
the world number two was roared on by supporters packing the Aorangi
Terrace, where fans waving British and Scottish flags watched on the big
Murray had not dropped a set going into the quarter-final, the second time he has achieved the feat.
he was severely tested by Verdasco, who had only beaten Murray once in
their previous nine tour-level meetings: likewise a five-setter in the
2009 Australian Open fourth round.
Murray served his first double fault to hand Verdasco the first set.
the crowd getting nervous, Murray started the second set in lacklustre
fashion but turned it around to break for a 2-1 lead.
However, Verdasco broke back as Murray hit a string of unforced errors.
The left-hander broke again for 5-3 with a lucky backhand return that hit the net and dropped over.
the next game, Murray had three break points but Verdasco recovered as
Murray repeatedly chose the wrong shot, and the Spaniard took the set.
Exasperated, Murray screamed at himself: "What are you doing?" as he let off steam at the break.
himself a good telling-off seemed to do the trick as the Scot broke at
the first opportunity in the third set. Reinvigorated, he raced on to
take the set 6-1, coming in from the baseline much more to win points.
In the fourth set, Murray broke for 4-3 as the momentum swung his way. Serving for the set, he sealed it with a forehand smash.
The fifth set decider then became a battle of who would blink first.
Neither player gave an inch until Murray broke when Verdasco shot long, giving the Scot a 6-5 lead.
sent down an ace to give himself three match points and won it when
Verdasco hit long again, sending waves of relief and elation around
The match was being watched from the royal box by
former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, who saw several of his
fellow Scot's matches en route to his maiden Grand Slam triumph at the
US Open last year.
Murray extended his grass court winning streak to 16 matches as he booked his place in his 13th Grand Slam semi-final.
Verdasco, 29, was on his best-ever Wimbledon run by reaching the last eight.
Results from the ninth day of Wimbledon (x denotes seeded player):
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Tomas Berdych (CZE x7) 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-3
Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG x8) bt David Ferrer (ESP x4) 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5)
Jerzy Janowicz (POL x24) bt Lukasz Kubot (POL) 7-5, 6-4, 6-4
Andy Murray (GBR x2) bt Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5
Ivan Dodig/Marcelo Melo (CRO/BRA x12) bt James Blake/Jurgen Melzer (USA/AUT) 7-5, 6-0, 6-7 (0/7), 6-4
Shuko Aoyama/Chanelle Scheepers (JPN/RSA) bt Julia Goerges/Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (GER/CZE x16) 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 6-4
Hsieh Su-Wei/Peng Shuai (TPE/CHN x8) bt Jelena Jankovic/Mirjana Lucic (SRB/CRO) 6-4, 7-5
Anna-Lena Groenefeld/Kveta Peschke (GER/CZE x7) bt Nadia Petrova/Katarina Srebotnik (RUS/SLO x3) 7-6 (7/2), 6-3
Ashleigh Barty/Casey Dellacqua (AUS/AUS x12) bt Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka (CZE/CZE x2) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4