Murray battles past Massu
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:23
Massu, a former top-10 player now ranked 91, produced a series of trademark blistering forehands to dominate much of the opening set but lost his temper and focus to hand Murray an eventually comfortable win.
Should he go the distance and win the Masters event, Murray will become the first Briton to break into the world’s top three since the rankings were introduced in 1973 – provided Novak Djokovic, the player currently ahead of him, does not also make the final.
Chilean Massu was the first to make his mark on the match when, after holding serve in the opening game, he broke Murray at the first opportunity to move 2-0 ahead.
The Scot finally got on the board in the fourth – albeit thanks to the closest of hawk-eye challenges at 40-30 and his momentum built further as he converted the second of two break points when the 2004 double Olympic champion sent a forehand wide and long.
Massu continued to play some breathtaking shots but was being scuppered by a high error count to hand Murray a second break for 4-3. The Briton immediately handed his ponytailed opponent three chances to break back, which he did with one to spare.
Murray then broke again. The South American was cutting an increasingly frustrated figure and the fourth seed added to his despair by serving out for the opening set to love.
He repeated the trick on Massu’s serve in the first game of the second set as the match appeared destined to follow the course of their only other meeting, at Wimbledon in 2006, when Murray won at a canter.
Another break followed in the fifth – a game which included a brilliant forehand lob from the Briton – before Massu pulled one back in the eighth.
It was a mere stay of execution, however, as Murray staved off break points to clinch the decisive game with a brilliant backhand down the line.