Berdych battles to beat Murray

British number 1 Andy Murray has been knocked out of the Madrid Open at the quarter-final stage. Murray was the highest seed remaining in the tournament after both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer crashed out.

Berdych had won the 2 previous meetings on clay but, after superb comeback win over Gilles Simon, Murray was looking like he could go much further in the competition after the dissapointment in Monte Carlo but maybe that long, gruelling 3 hour match against the Frenchman Simon took its toll. Particularly with the top 2 seeds going out my confidence grew over Murray’s chances but it wasn’t to be.

The Scot will be kicking himself after he broke at 4-3 in the first set but failed to hold serve, failing to put some daylight between himself and the Czech, had the world number 3 converted that chance I could be writing about a completely different story. Consequently the first set went on to go into a tie-break, which the world number 6 quite easily won 7-3.

The second set began with two breaks, firstly Murray’s serve was broken but he responded to equal the set at 1-1. Ultimately, Berdych had too much for the US Open champion and added a second break of the set to edge him towards victory – 7-6 6-4.

Service wise, Murray hit a respectable 6 aces but produced a concerning 3 double faults, however I’m sure re-claiming the world number 2 spot after Federer’s defeat will be a good consolation to take from the Madrid Open. Hopefully he’ll build on a last 8 finish in Madrid when, next week, he heads off to Rome for another Masters 1000 event, which is the 1-time Olympic gold medalist’s final tournament prior to the French Open, which starts in around a fortnight’s time. Andy decribes the Masters in Rome as “one of the more relaxing tournaments” but he did add that “can’t say I love the traffic though”.

Meanwhile, for Berdych he’ll face Stanislas Wawrinka in the semi-finals and favourite Rafael Nadal will take on suprise semi-finalist Pablo Andujar, who isn’t even ranked inside the top 100.

– Nathan Morley

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