Andy Murray would have benefited from hitting more unforced errors in his quarterfinal win over Fernando Verdasco. At least it would have shown he believed in his ability to take control of the match.
For much of Wednesday's 4-6,3-6,6-1,6-4,7-5 battle with the unseeded Spaniard, Murray simply looked outmatched and unsure of himself. As the fifth set commenced, the Scot was in a holding pattern. He put balls back in play, but without any depth or depth of commitment. This was especially true of his two-fisted backhand. What is normally one of Murray's more effective shots became a stalling tactic, falling short in the court and providing his opponent ample opportunity to take an aggressive stance.
It is no wonder, then, that Murray spent just as much time berating himself as he did cheering himself on. All in all, he managed to look desperate on Court 1, despite being heavily favored. It turns out that there were times when Murray himself was concerned about losing, according to his post-match news conference. That isn't the mindset of a champion.
To be fair, Murray claims he chose to play safely after committing too many errors early on. Statistics from the first set, which he lost four games to six, do not bear this out, though. He only struck three unforced errors. To be certain, the 12 errors in the second set were more concerning, but not overly so. Even if his reaction to going down two sets was not panicky, as reported by the Associated Press, it still wasn't the right reaction.
By the end of the match, Murray was just trying to hold on. Verdasco played the part of the strong-willed aggressor and it nearly paid off for him. Next up for Britain's finest hope is another loose-swinging opponent, Jerzy Janowicz. If Andy Murray does not believe in his ability to pressure the Pole around the confines of Centre Court, expect even more troubles for him.
Friday afternoon could be quite upsetting for the crowd favorite.
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