Murray runs out of steam against Nalbandian
Originally published on 26/02/10 11:18
Andy Murray’s hopes of completing a hat-trick of titles in Paris came to an end in the quarter-finals at the hands of the in-form defending champion David Nalbandian.
Victory in Paris would have secured three titles in three weeks for the Scot, as well as three consecutive Masters Series titles after wins in Cincinnati and Madrid.
But the 21-year-old finally ran out of steam after a run of 14 straight victories, and was dumped out 7-6(3) 6-3 by the No.8 seed.
Nalbandian found his rhythm and had Murray scrambling all over the court…
Playing Nalbandian was bound to be a step up from Murray’s first two matches in Paris, against Sam Querrey and Fernando Verdasco. The Argentine is something of an indoor specialist, and looked to be in control for the majority of the first set.
He was the first to break, in game four, but Murray broke back immediately, claiming the first of his two break points when Nalbandian sent a forehand wide.
Murray, the No.4 seed, faced five break points in his next two service games as Nalbandian piled pressure on the Scot’s much improved serve, but clung on to reach the tie-break.
The breaker was one-way traffic, though, and although Murray saved a set point, a Nalbandian forehand winner took it 7-3.
It was only the second set Murray had dropped since going on his 14-match run, the other coming against Roger Federer in the semi-final in Madrid – and it seemed to rattle the Scot.
He was broken in his first service game of the second set when he netted a weak backhand. And although he mounted a brief comeback, breaking back to level at 2-2, Nalbandian found his rhythm and had Murray all over the court, breaking at the second time of asking to go 3-2 up.
The two players traded breaks again but Nalbandian’s third and final break of the set, in game nine, secured him a semi-final date with either Rafael Nadal or Nikolay Davydenko.
Despite stating his intentions to ignore the invitation to the Masters Cup, the Argentine will make the top eight of the ATP Race should he win the tournament on Sunday.