Following their thrilling quarter-final clash at the Wimbledon Championships last year, British No. 1 Andy Murray and Spain’s Fernando Verdasco will meet once again at the very same stage of the Grand Slam tournament, this time in Paris. Verdasco put Murray through a grueling match last June, and was one set away from putting an end to Murray’s historic run at SW19. He will be looking to finish what he started this time around.
Andy Murray finished his third round battle against Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday morning, after stopping at sunset the previous day at 7-7 in the fifth set. Over the course of the two days, Murray hit 85 winners, 68 unforced errors, 10 aces and 8 doublefaults en route to his victory over the German. The contest lasted four hours and seven minutes.
“Physically in the fifth set I was struggling. I was cramping,” admitted Murray. “So I was disappointed obviously that I wasn’t able to finish in four sets. But at the same time, stopping the match probably helped me a little bit, because if I had played seven or eight more games, probably wouldn’t have been great.
“Today was a pretty high standard, I thought. Probably the best standard of the match I think from both of us. He came up with some great shots when he was behind in games today. I thought both of us served a little bit better. It was a good finish to the match.”
His opponent, Fernando Verdasco also finished his match on Sunday, but only needed straight sets to get the job done against France’s Richard Gasquet. Verdasco hit 39 winners, 21 unforced errors and 2 aces en route a 1 hour and 58 minute victory.
“It’s never easy when they stop a match when you are two sets to love up and you are starting the third,” said Verdasco. “Because you know that you need to be 100 per cent from the first point or everything can change very quickly. Even more so when you are playing against a player like Richard here in France.
This will likely be a fantastic encounter and a tough match-up for the Briton. Murray does lead the head-to-head series 9-1, but will have a particularly difficult task against Verdasco on clay.
“This is going to be a very tough match again. I will try and give my all. I have nothing to lose. He is a favourite because of his ranking. So I will try and play my best tennis, and I hope I’ll be as consistent as I was yesterday and today.”
Prediction: Andy Murray in Five Sets