By Ros Satar
- Fernando Verdasco  def. Andy Murray 7-5 2-6 6-4 6-4
- ‘Positive’ about his two matches at the US Open
NEW YORK, USA – Andy Murray’s Slam comeback ended in the second round of the US Open, as Fernando Verdasco got a rare win over the Brit.
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Fernando Verdasco  def. Andy Murray 7-5 2-6 6-4 6-4
This was always going to be a tough ask for the former British & World No. 1 against a player who has been ranked as highly as World No. 7 in his career. Although it is always possible the Fernando Verdasco can be his own worst enemy on the court, he just was a little too consistent when it counted and overall, as he halted Andy Murray’s Slam comeback in the second round.
The Spaniard was quick to break the Brit at the first opportunity, but Murray came straight back at him, before breaking Verdasco a couple of games later. This time Verdasco was quick to quell the surge ahead, and after deflecting a set point, broke Murray and then served it out to take a one set lead.
There was more cat and mouse between he pair, with Verdasco and Murray both vocal with their frustrations, as Murray came out the better after three successive breaks of serve, before breaking once more to level the match.
His fall-away at the start of the second set was marked, swiftly falling to a 1-4 deficit, and with the prospect of a 10-minute break, his fighting spirit saw him battle away doggedly to get one of the breaks back, before Verdasco went 2-1 up.
Things got a little fractious as Murray encountered Verdasco chatting with a coach and a Spanish doubles player, as there still seems to be some confusion as to what players can and can’t do under the rules. The fourth set started very competitively between the pair with some breath-taking tennis, before Verdasco hit hard with a break to love. Murray could not covert on five break point chances and deflected two match points in the final game, before succumbing to the third set.
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‘Played some of the best tennis I’ve played since the surgery’
On the whole, Murray could be quite positive about how he had performed, even if his come-back was short-lived.
He told reporters: “I think some of the tennis I played today was some of the best I’ve played since I had the surgery or since I came back. But there were also periods in the match, especially in the first set, where I really didn’t play particularly well. I hit a lot of mistakes when I was up in that set. I feel like I should have won the first set and didn’t.
“Then kind of at the end when back was against the wall, I came up with some good tennis to make it close and interesting at the end and almost got myself back into it. There were too many ups and downs for my liking.
“Pretty challenging conditions. Certainly some of the toughest you’ll play in during the year. To sort of still be doing as well as I was at the end of the match, considering the lack of kind of practice and matches that I’ve had, was positive.”
After such a long lay-off, there were other aspects of the physical challenge that throw up interesting issues, as he went on to explain.
“It was a tough match for me physically because of the conditions and, you know, having played over three hours the other day. Like this is still quite early in the process for me.
“Like, your body and your hands, you build up callouses from playing a lot, and never get issues with blisters and stuff on your feet and things. These are all things that your body sort of protects you against when you’ve been playing a lot. And when you haven’t, it’s just like little bits and pieces that come up.
“Like I say, it’s still quite early in this process for me. I did all right. I chased balls down right to the end of the match. I wasn’t giving up on points. It wasn’t the most comfortable I felt on a tennis court. I got through it and fought right to the end.”
The question though that everyone wants to know is whether this is a process that does have some kind of light at the end of the tunnel. We have seen with the comebacks this year in particular with Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic that the process can have a lot of ups and downs, and Murray agreed, but sees no reason, if things improve for him physically that he can still compete at the highest levels of the sport.
“I think there’s for sure doubts about that because you just don’t know. I mean, when I got the injury, I was ranked No. 1 in the world. 12 months later, you know, things completely changed.
“You just don’t know exactly what’s round the corner. If things keep going smoothly, physically I continue to improve, I believe that I will get back to competing for the biggest competitions because there’s no reason why I couldn’t. But you don’t know.
“When you continue to build up and start playing more tournaments, you don’t know how you’re going to respond. If that’s the case, that makes things a little bit more tricky. Because of the path that I’ve been on the last year with the sort of many, many ups and downs, trying to come back, it not quite working, then ending up having the surgery and stuff. I think it’s completely normal to have those doubts.”
Murray has told BBC Sport that he wold love to play the final “traditional’ Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan in Glasgow next month. However he would be looking once more at best-of-five set matches and with no points to defend for the rest of the season, he want to ensure it will not impact his plans for the rest of the season on tour.
He said: “Potentially it’s the last time I’d get to play competitive tennis in Scotland so I’d like to do that. I’d have to chat to my team because this is obviously a very important period in my rehab and my long-term strategy.”
The Davis Cup tie takes place between 14-16 September.
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