Andy Murray survives at Wimbledon 2013, Britain exhales
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Andy Murray did not want to hear it. He did not want to hear about how his draw got so much easier when Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were eliminated. He did not want to hear about how he was never going to have a better chance to win Wimbledon. And he certainly did not want to hear about how lucky he was to have unseeded Fernando Verdasco as his quarterfinal opponent.
"Verdasco is a very, very good tennis player," Andy Murray said Monday. "Very good at tennis. He's playing very well this week. He's extremely dangerous when he's on his game. Yeah, that's it. I mean, Verdasco's a very good tennis player."
If the fans and the news media did not get it then, they certainly did by the time Andy Murray had lost the first two sets of their quarterfinal match Wednesday afternoon.
But after scolding himself with a "What are you doing?" after the second set, Murray rallied to the delight of the packed Centre Court and the masses on Murray Mount, where there was hardly a patch of grass left to sit on.
With their favorite down, the crowd could not contain itself at times, yelling, "Come on, Andy!" in the middle of points and repeatedly being admonished by the chair umpire.
Andy Murray said he made poor choices in the second set, but won the third easily, then saved four break points in the fourth. He broke Verdasco in the eighth game and then served out the set.
The fifth was an on-serve duel until the 11th game, when Murray earned the break and then held at love to win the match, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5.
Verdasco was ranked as high as seventh in 2009. But now, at 29, he is 54th, the ninth ranked player in Spain. He had never advanced past the fourth round at Wimbledon.