Saturday 5 November 2016

Andy Murray beats Tomas Berdych at Paris Masters

Andy Murray

Andy Murray can now eying for the top position at the World Tennis Ranking.

Murray, enjoying the season of his life, beat Tomas Berdych 7-6 (11-9), 7-5 in the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters and will replace Djokovic as world No1 if wins his semi-final on Saturday against Milos Raonic. That would erase the 235 points between himself and the Serb and move him past the man who has been his master for most of their parallel careers – but who earlier succumbed to the world No10, Marin Cilic, for the first time in 15 encounters over eight years.

The Croatian's 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) win in an hour and 44 minutes stunned a struggling Djokovic, who saved two match points despite nursing an injury to his right arm that has troubled him for months, and handed Murray the chance he has worked so hard for, not just the past month or so while collecting titles in Beijing, Shanghai and Vienna but for much of his 11 years on the Tour. Murray said: "Maybe there were a few more nerves before but, once I got out there, no. It was a great atmosphere. It didn't really bother me. I don't know [how he will handle the pressure on Saturday]. I've never been in this position before. I don't know how I'll deal with it. Normally in big matches, when you got on court, you feel fine. If I wasn't to get to No1 this year, I was looking to next year. If it happens, great. It's been a great few months for me and I'll try to finish this week the best I can."

"But that wasn't my goal at the start of the week. It wasn't my goal two or three weeks ago. This is a long-term thing. To get to No1 is not about one match. It's about a whole season that you put together and 12 months of work. If it doesn't happen tomorrow, it can still happen in a few months. That is when I [originally] thought I'd have a better chance of doing it. But I'm not putting any extra pressure on myself."

He also paid tribute to the incumbent. "He's not just the No1 player just now. He's one of the best players that's ever played – just like Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal] have been, as well."

He said of a dramatic first-set tie-break against Berdych: "I played some good ones, he played some bad ones on the set points, and I just fought as hard as I could. I served pretty well in those moments, better than him. There were a few net cords that went my way. I dealt with the double-fault well. It didn't affect me."

His win was littered with the usual sprinkling of magic and angst over nearly two hours on Court Central. In a tie-break that will make any highlights reel of the season Murray came from 6-1 down, saved seven set points, double-faulted with the most horrendous second serve for 8-9, watched a nailed-on Berdych winner drift long after banging the tape and allowed himself a huge, puffed-cheek gasp of relief when a double-fault give him set point at 10-9, on serve. After a shootout that lasted a quarter of an hour Murray put away an angled forehand to leave the Czech rooted to the baseline.

Having constructed a mental mountain for himself after a first set of the highest quality, Berdych, not always the most resilient of players, dropped serve at the start of the second. But, steeling himself to the task, he broke back when Murray, serving for the match at 5-4, thrashed a forehand into the net.

The Czech, who had gone for his shots all night, could not sustain the fightback, however, belting his sixth double fault. At the second attempt Murray had a match-winning serve wrongly overruled at 40-15, battled to deuce and put it to bed with consecutive aces, his fourth and fifth of an excellent match.



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