Top-seed David Ferrer and the tournament’s number three Andy Murray met in a blockbuster semi-final at the City of Arts and Science in Valencia on Saturday. Both faced each other for the 15th time and for the third time within the last three weeks. Ferrer defeated Murray in the third round at the ATP Masters 1000 in Shanghai earlier this month before the Brit hit back in the Vienna final last Sunday, extending his head to head lead over the Spaniard to 8-6 before today’s Encounter.
Ferrer gifted the opening game to the British world number 10 by striking two double faults. Murray took the opening set in the tenth game and went two breaks up in the second to gain a 3-0 lead but Ferrer wasn’t done yet. The rallies became longer and more spectacular when the Spaniard made four games in a row heating up the atmosphere on Agora Centre Court. Murray, however, remained calm and gained another break in the eleventh game, saved three break points in the following and eventually served out winning 6-4, 7-5 in just under two hours.
“It was a tough match, even in the first set there were a lot of tough points and long rallies. In the second set I was ahead and then when David started to come back I got a little bit of nerves but I managed to stay strong at the end and thankfully I got the win,” Murray was relieved afterwards and enjoyed playing on Centre Court today. “Obviously it is better when the spectators are with you but today there were a lot of important points and the crowd was very engaged, which gives a great atmosphere and it’s nice to play on these conditions,” Murray said. “It’s a nice tournament. The weather is still great, which is good to have a walk around and it’s good for the mind and the body. The people involved with the tournament were very helpful, obviously having experts like Ferrero involved. That always helps because people like him know what the players need and want. The hospitality is very good and convenient. The hotel is just in walking distance to the courts, which is also very nice,” the Scot is happy with the conditions in Valencia. Murray has reached his 45th career final and the third of the season. From all of those, he emerged victorious.
On Sunday, the world number 10 will face Tommy Robredo for the title. The 32-year-old Spaniard defeated Jeremy Chardy 7-6, 7-6 in two hours and one minute. Robredo staved off a trio of set points in the first set tie-break and then broke the Frenchman when he was serving for the set in the ninth game. In the end, the Spanish veteran reeled off four of the last five games to claim his 500th victory on the ATP Tour.
“It’s only a number, but it’s a special number,” Robredo told. “If somebody told me I would win 500 matches at the beginning of my career, I’d take it. So, I’m here and now I should go for 600,” the Spaniard was happy being the seventh active player (Federer, Nadal, Ferrer, Hewitt, Djokovic and Haas are the others) and the 44th player overall in the Open Era joining the 500 Match Wins Club.
Murray and Robredo met six times on the ATP World Tour with the Brit leading 4-2. Murray also sealed victory in the last encounter between the two winning the final in Shenzhen in September in three sets.