Tennis

Murray survives 5-setter to reach Wimbledon semis

Andy Murray of Great Britain throws his wristband into the crowd as he celebrates match point during the Gentlemen's Singles quarter-final match against Fernando Verdasco of Spain at Wimbledon on July 3, 2013. Photo: Getty Images
Andy Murray serves to Fernando Verdasco during their Men's singles quarter-final match at Wimbledon on July 3, 2013. Photo: AP
Andy Murray returns to Fernando Verdasco during their Men's singles quarter-final match at Wimbledon on July 3, 2013. Photo: AP
Fernando Verdasco dives to hit a return to Andy Murray during their men's quarter-final tennis match at Wimbledon on July 3, 2013. Photo: Reuters
Andy Murray hits a return to Fernando Verdasco in their men's quarter-final at Wimbledon on July 3, 2013. Photo: Reuters
Andy Murray reacts as he defeats Fernando Verdasco in their men's quarter-final at Wimbledon on July 3, 2013. Photo: Reuters
Tennis fans wearing masks depicting Britain's Andy Murray watch a giant TV screen showing his match against Fernando Verdasco of Spain in their men's singles quarter-final at Wimbledon on July 3, 2013. Photo: Getty Images
Andy Murray eyes the ball as Fernando Verdasco tries to play a return during their Men's singles quarter-final at Wimbledon on July 3, 2013. Photo: AP
Fernando Verdasco lies on the court after missing a return to Andy Murray during their Men's singles quarter-final match at Wimbledon on July 3, 2013. Photo: AP
Spectators cheer as a television camera cuts to them at Wimbledon on July 3, 2013. Andy Murray of Britain defeated Fernando Verdasco of Spain on Centre Court in their Men's singles quarterfinal match. Photo AP
Fernando Verdasco smiles as he calls for a video review of Andy Murray’s winning match point in their Men's singles quarter-final match at Wimbledon on July 3, 2013. Photo: AP
Second-seeded Briton overcomes two-set deficit to beat Fernando Verdasco and is expected to face Djokovic on Sunday
Published: 8:17 AM, July 4, 2013
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LONDON — Andy Murray’s predicted stroll to the Wimbledon final became a hazardous obstacle course yesterday (July 3) as he was forced to claw back a two-set deficit against Fernando Verdasco to join top seed Novak Djokovic in the last four.

In the stands and from afar, some of the biggest names in Britain were cheering on Murray. There was Alex Ferguson, the recently retired manager of Manchester United, sitting among the crowd at the All England Club and smiling broadly.

And there was David Cameron, the country’s prime minister, tweeting his well-wishes before the match and then later a photo of him watching it on television.

Murray didn’t let either of them down, or any of his other millions of fans, but he did make it hard to take at times.

The second-seeded Briton advanced to the Wimbledon semi-finals for the fifth straight year, overcoming a two-set deficit to beat Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 yesterday (July 3) on Centre Court.

“I think when you play more and more matches and gain more experience you understand how to turn matches around and how to change the momentum of games,” Murray said, relating his comeback win to one of Ferguson’s famous late turnarounds with Man United.

“Maybe when I was younger I could have lost that match. But I think I’ve learnt how to come back from tough situations more as I got older.”

Ferguson is becoming something of a regular at Murray’s big matches. Along with Sean Connery, Ferguson even crashed a post-match news conference last year after Murray won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open.

Ferguson didn’t make it that far this time, but there could be two matches still to go at Wimbledon, where a British man has not won the title since Fred Perry in 1936.

“Just got off the court a few minutes ago, so I haven’t seen anyone yet,” Murray said flatly about Ferguson, perhaps trying to downplay the feeling of having such an accomplished fan in his corner.

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