Murray seals semi-final berth
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:22
Murray is still yet to lose a set in this year’s tournament after overcoming the 74th-ranked Ljubicic in a little over two hours and will now meet the winner of the Roger Federer-Fernando Verdasco quarter-final.
The British number one was made to toil by Ljubicic, the oldest man in the draw, who many thought would still be tired after coming through a gruelling three-hour epic with Igor Andreev the previous day.
Murray, who only had to play for 50 minutes before his fourth-round opponent Tommy Robredo retired with a wrist injury, made good on his promise to be more aggressive from the start, immediately breaking the 30-year-old in the opening game and looking sharp as he raced into a 2-0 lead.
But Ljubicic began to show glimpses of the talent that had taken him to a career high of world number three, twice missing the chance to break back in the fourth before finally managing it in the sixth, Murray slicing a poor attempted drop-shot into the net to make it 3-3.
Ljubicic followed up by winning the next game to love and served his first ace in his next service game to take the score to 5-4.
But Murray replied with some unreturnable deliveries of his own to level at 5-5 and Ljubicic crumbled in the 11th, making a series of errors to hand his opponent a second break before the Scot held serve to take the first set 7-5.
The second set went with serve before coming to life in the ninth game. Ljubicic, serving at deuce, was unhappy when Murray called a shot in and saw the Hawk-Eye replay support his claim.
The Croat was sure the line judge had correctly called the shot out and became even angrier when the umpire admitted he agreed with him, but could not overrule the technology. The deflated Ljubicic subsequently conceded the game on the next point and Murray was left to serve for the match at 5-4.
But the Croat was not finished and broke back, with both players holding their serve in the next two games to take the match into a second set tie-break. Ljubicic remained resilient and Murray had to keep working hard, but he finally prevailed 8-6 for a 7-5 7-6 victory overall.