By Ros Satar
Andy Murray def. Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5
Remember the good old days?
When Hen-Mania would take the country by storm for two weeks every year, and the nation would be put through the wringer, to experience a maelstrom of emotions from the first ball to the last?
Well, just in case you had forgotten with all this talk of straight sets run to finals, the talented Mr Murray gave us a taste of nostalgia with just a side order of beta-blockers to help slow our collective heart-rates down.
There is no denying this Wimbledon has had its share of upsets, and we were agonisingly close to another, as an in-form Verdasco showed his intent, right from the get-go.
Despite having a break-point carrot dangled in front of him early in the first set, Murray could not capitalise as he found it a challenge to get on the end of Verdasco’s pesky-leftie serves.
When a Murray double fault handed the Spaniard the first set, people did not panic, because surely this would be the comeback?
And when Murray broke early it looked as though the Good Ship Wimbledon Domination had been righted.
A sloppy game soon had the not-so-good-ship listing again as four errors in a row saw the advantage disappear.
Back on beta-blockers, things got worse as Murray was broken again and with a hold to follow – Verdasco found himself leading the world no. 2 by two sets to love.
Verdasco was doing everything Murray was not.
He was swinging with aggression, he was going for all his shots, and they were paying off in style.
Murray started to change his tactics, a little more aggression (but not nearly enough) and the occasional shortening of the points and serve-vollying saw the third set whizz past the Spaniard.
The Great British ComebackTM had started but jitters were not quite subsiding.
It took a single break to nudge Murray ahead enough to level the score line, taking us into a one-set shootout.
With no fifth set tie break, it really would come down to who blinked first and Verdasco had dialled back into his serve again.
It would come down to experience – and neither man was short of that.
Murray got the decisive break as Verdasco sent another of his bludgeoning forehands sailing long, and with a commanding hold Murray got the job done.
Over on Court 1, an emotional Jerzy Janowicz won the all Polish encounter and awaits Murray in the semi-final.
Murray is no “titch” but Janowicz measures in at 6ft 8in and probably makes it seem like he is serving out of a tree.
And he hits with aggressive freedom, something that Murray will need to do, as well show us some of that trademark reflex returning.
Janowicz was visibly shaking at his immediate post-match interview, but for Murray (who quite possibly would have been shaking for entirely different reasons after his – but to his credit was measured in the face of inanity), he will be used to the atmosphere at a Wimbledon Semi-final.
Janowicz will be dangerous because he has nothing to lose, but Murray simply cannot afford to be too patient and wait for errors.
Either way, get those heart pills in, prepare a darkened room, and prepare to ride the Murray-coaster one more time.