Sunday, June 14, 2009

Murray powers into Queen's final

British number one Andy Murray stormed into his first grass-court final with a 6-2 6-4 win over Juan Carlos Ferrero at the Aegon Championships at Queen's.

The top seed will face American James Blake on Sunday, after four-times champion Andy Roddick retired with an ankle injury early in their semi-final.

Murray will be full of confidence after an impressive display against Ferrero.

He swept through the first set and was solid when the Spaniard improved in the second, securing victory in 71 minutes.

The 22-year-old Scot's superb form this week after making the transition from clay has increased hopes he can clinch his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.

Andy Murray

But Murray is keen to play down the hype, explaining that he is focused on beating Blake, the sixth seed, and nothing else.

"It's so easy based on a few matches to get ahead of yourself," said Murray.

"That's a problem I think that a lot of people have in this country - expecting huge things and thinking that it's just going to happen.

"I need to go out there and make it happen. Any Grand Slams are going to be incredibly tough.

"For me, it might sound boring, and all sports people say it all the time, but I'm not looking or thinking about winning Wimbledon.

"I'm thinking about my match on Sunday and then preparing for the championships the best that I can."

After cruising through the early stages against Ferrero, Murray found it more difficult to finish his opponent off, with the former world number one showing admirable battling qualities when he seemed on the brink of collapse.

Murray got a taste of what was to come when he saw a glorious opportunity to break Ferrero come and go in the opening game of the second set.

Murray happy to beat 'very tough' Ferrero

The Scot squandered all three break points after leading 40-0 as the world number 90 finally showed some of the form that had helped him into the semi-finals.

And Ferrero then put the Murray serve under pressure for the first time in the next game, taking the first two points, but the Scot hit back with two consecutive aces and his supreme serving throughout meant he never actually faced a break point.

Ferrero's serve was less effective but he clung on, saving two more break points before Murray finally made the breakthrough to lead 4-3.

There was no way back for Ferrero from there and, although he battled on, Murray was relatively untroubled as he served out for victory.

"It was a good match," Murray told BBC Sport afterwards.

"I served very well in the first set and I was happy to win it in two as it was hotter out there than on other days this week.

"I've not had the easiest draw, but I'm lucky I've played well from the start of the week. It's been a good week so far and I hope that will continue on Sunday."


Murray becomes the first British player to reach the final at Queen's since Tim Henman in 2002.

Henman made the final three times in four years, losing the first to America's Pete Sampras in 1999, before Australia's Lleyton Hewitt defeated him in 2001 and 2002.

No British player has won the title since Bunny Austin in 1938.

The world number three might have expected to face Roddick - a winner at Queen's in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007 - in the final but the American's hopes were ended by a freak injury in the third game of his match.

Roddick had unsuccessfully chased down a Blake lob and laughed after attempting to hit the ball between his legs but then slipped off the back of the court and was clearly in pain.

Andy Roddick

Roddick injures ankle at Queen's

He had his right ankle strapped during a medical time-out and attempted to play on but threw in the towel with the score at 4-4.

The 26-year-old is a two-time runner-up at Wimbledon, losing to Roger Federer in the final in 2004 and 2005, but it is not clear whether his injury will stop him from taking part in this year's tournament, which starts on 22 June.

"I'm going to do everything I can to play at Wimbledon," Roddick said afterwards.

"I met with my trainer and with the doctors. They don't think anything is torn. Initial tests showed the stability was okay. Strength was okay.

"It was just range of motion was limited. So that's good. I'm not saying I'm going to be out six weeks or anything like that. We're looking at days, not weeks."

Blake, 29, last reached the final at Queen's when he lost to Hewitt in 2006 but feels he has a chance to end up a winner this time.

"Anyone that's in a final has the ability to play great tennis, and I'd like to think I do.

"If I'm playing well and putting pressure on him, you know, you take your chances, and a lot of times if you're playing well it's going to come down to a point or two here and there.

"You just take advantage of a break point here, a point in a tie-break there

or something and go after your shots, play aggressive and see what happens."

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