Murray beats Verdasco to make Valencia final
Andy Murray is through to the final of the Valencia Open after a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 win over Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.
The British number one, who is looking to win his sixth title of the year, will face Mikhail Youzhny on Sunday after the Russian beat compatriot Nikolay Davydenko 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Murray showed flashes of his brilliant best against Verdasco, despite seeming to struggle with a hip problem. He had to fight hard for the win but eventually unravelled his opponents with a combination of strong defensive play and some attacking tennis.
After saving break points early in the first set, Murray turned the tables with a superb game at 3-3 to break the Spaniard. The Brit set up the break with a cleverly crafted forehand slice, bringing Verdasco into the net to pass him with a crosscourt backhand.
The Spaniard then threw in three errors in his next service game and double faulted to hand the world number four the first set.
Murray seemed to have his opponent on the ropes, but a loose opening game of the second set allowed Verdasco back into the match. The Brit double faulted to give away the break which allowed the world number eight to regain his composure.
The big hitting that Verdasco had come up with early in first set returned and, down a double break, Murray seemed to have resigned himself to a decider.
He started positively in the third set, creating his first chances in the fourth game. However, some weak play on the break points allowed Verdasco back into the game and he held strongly with a powerful forehand and neat backhand volley.
When the opportunity arrived again in the sixth game, Murray did not allow it to slip away. He was helped along the way with some errors from Verdasco, who sent a couple of forehands wide and netted another to hand the advantage back to the Brit.
The errors continued to fly off Verdasco’s racquet and Murray comfortably wrapped up the victory to set up a second career meeting with Youzhny.
“It was very difficult in the first set but I managed to stay strong,” the Brit said in a television interview.
“I started to feel more comfortable as the game went on and was reading his game a bit better.”
Murray goes into the final with a winning record against Youzhny, whom he beat in their only previous meeting in the semi-finals of St Petersburg back in 2007.