In a gripping match that oscillated like an erratic pendulum before a packed Wimbledon Centre Court on Wednesday, Andy Murray came back from two sets down to defeat Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5.
That the match would not be easy for the No. 2 seed was apparent early on in the first set when the dangerous Verdasco began showing signs of using his swerving left-handed serve and his devastating top-spin forehand to good effect.
Murray managed to sneak ahead 3-1 in the next, but Verdasco reeled off five games in a row.
The U.S. Open champion, who looked surprisingly out of sorts and struggling with unknown inner demons, made some amends for his weak second serve and his overly passive backhand in the third set.
The 6-1 scoreline was helped by Verdasco’s errors on crucial points, reviving questions about the Spaniard’s frailties when confronted with difficult situations. However, he seemed back on track in the fourth set, during which he narrowly failed to convert two break points in his favour. In the end, it was Murray who managed to convert the one that came his way, winning the set 6-4, with perhaps a little slice of luck.
With the match level, Murray seemed to have the edge on paper given that Verdasco had been in only one previous Grand Slam final. But the fifth set, the best of the match, had the two locked in a keen contest with some gladiatorial exchanges. Eventually, it was the No. 2 seed who prevailed, keeping the dream alive of becoming the first British player to win at Wimbledon after the great Fred Perry.