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Murray edges past Youzhny into quarter-finals

ESPN staff
July 1, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
It was no walk in the park for Andy Murray against 20th seed Mikhail Youzhny © PA Photos
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Andy Murray is through to the quarter finals at Wimbledon for the sixth year running after edging past a determined Mikhail Youzhny 6-4 7-6(5) 6-1.

Having just witnessed defending champion Serena Williams suffer a shock defeat to Sabine Lisicki, the Centre Court crowd was far more tense than one would normally expect for a match involving the British No. 1.

And Murray did little to ease the nerves of British fans freshly hurt from Laura Robson's brave exit with an unconvincing opening service game in which Youzhny forced deuce four times.

But so quickly things can change as Youzhny, a two-time US Open semi-finalist, fizzed one into the tramlines to hand Murray the first break of the match. It was just the booster the Scot needed and he held serve to take the first set.

The third game of the second set provided the champagne moment of the match. A backhand-slice from Youzhny caught the baseline and Murray responded with the sweetest of drop shots. The Russian managed to reach it but Murray, with his opponent at the net, unleashed the most delicious of lobs that has become such a vital weapon in his arsenal of late.

Murray then reacted incredibly well to an attempted passing shot from Youzhny to whip a cross-court backhand to earn the break. But it did not last long when a clumsy slap wide from Murray handed Youzhny an immediate break back.

Murray started to get angry with himself and he was not afraid to show it, at one point thumping his racket into the sole of his shoe. Visibly riled, errors started to creep into his game which allowed Youzhny to race into a 5-2 lead.

But in typical Andy Murray fashion, he fought back and won three games on the bounce to level the match and eventually force a tiebreak which looked so unlikely just moments earlier.

Much like the main set, Youzhny took a 4-2 lead in the tiebreak and it looked destined that Murray would drop his first set of the competition, but the Scot dug deep with a series of blistering forehands to set up set point - which Murray won with a vicious backhand before erupting into a celebration akin to if he had won the whole tournament.

Youzhny was in a lot of trouble and spent the break before the third set being treated for a shoulder injury. Murray sensed the victory and was simply no match for his wounded prey as he romped home to set up a quarter final spot.

"It was a tough match," Murray said. "The first couple of sets especially but once I got ahead in the third I concentrated hard on not letting him back in like I did in the second set.

"I don't take anything for granted I know how hard these tournaments are to win. There are no guarantees here and I don't come into them thinking I am going to win.

"I think a few rounds ago I was more nervous but today I felt calmer before the match, I just concentrate on each game. Serena lost today, Roger has lost and Rafa has lost so you cannot take anything for granted."

Murray will face unseeded Fernando Verdasco in the last eight after the Spaniard beat France's Kenny de Schepper 6-4 6-4 6-4.

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