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TENNIS

Andy Murray survives scare to down Verdasco

Spain saw its Wimbledon hopes ended on Wednesday after Andy Murray pulled off a dramatic comeback from two sets down to beat Fernando Verdasco in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Andy Murray survives scare to down Verdasco
Spain's Fernando Verdasco (L) and Britain's Andy Murray share a smile after their tough Wimbledon quarter final. Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP

The second seed defeated the 54th-ranked Spaniard from Madrid 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 in a thrilling match on Centre Court.

Murray next faces Poland's Jerzy Janowicz in Friday's semi-finals after the 24th seed beat compatriot Lukasz Kubot in straight sets.

"I came through an incredibly tough match. It could have gone the other way. I found a way to get through and that's all you need," said Murray.

With Verdasco serving first and no breaks, Murray was serving to stay in the first set at 5-4 down.

But on set point for his opponent, the Scot served his first double fault — missing badly — to hand the Spaniard the first set.

With the home crowd getting nervous, Murray started the second set in lacklustre fashion but turned it around to break for a 2-1 lead.

However, Verdasco broke back for 3-3 as Murray hit a string of unforced errors.

Verdasco broke again for 5-3 with a lucky backhand return that hit the net and dropped over.

In the next game, Murray hit a dazzling forehand winner to finish a 28-stroke rally that had him scampering from side to side, on his way to giving himself three break points.

But Verdasco recovered as Murray repeatedly chose the wrong shot, and the Spaniard took the set.

Exasperated, Murray screamed at himself: "What are you doing?" as he let off steam at the break.

Giving himself a good telling-off seemed to do the trick as he broke at the first opportunity in the third set. Reinvigorated, he raced on to take the set 6-1, coming in from the baseline much more to win points.

In the fourth set, Murray fought off two break points in the sixth game to level at 3-3. The Briton broke in the next game then served to love as the momentum swung his way. Serving for the set, he sealed it with a forehand smash.

The fifth set decider then became a battle of who would blink first.

Neither player gave an inch until Murray broke when Verdasco shot long, giving the Scot a 6-5 lead.

Murray sent down an ace to give himself three match points and won it when Verdasco hit long again.

The Spaniard challenged and the two players smiled at the net as they waited for the replay result but there was little doubt that the call was going Murray's way, sending waves of relief and elation around Centre Court.

Verdasco's fellow countryman David Ferrer also saw his Wimbledon adventure come to an end on Wednesday.

The fourth seed was defeated by the Argentinian Juan del Potro in straight sets with the final score being 6-2, 6-4, 7-6.

Ferrer will climb to number three in the world rankings on Monday after a strong showing at the All England Club.

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TENNIS

IN PICS: Rafa Nadal weds childhood sweetheart in Mallorca

Rafael Nadal married his partner of 14 years, Xisca Perello, at a castle in Mallorca on Saturday.

IN PICS: Rafa Nadal weds childhood sweetheart in Mallorca
Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

Nadal, the 19-time grand slam champion, tied the knot with 31-year-old Perello at La Fortaleza, with a reported 350 guests invited to a private ceremony.

Juan Carlos I, the king of Spain from 1975 to 2014, was believed to be among those in attendance while the Michelin-star chef, Quique Dacosta, was reportedly in charge of catering.

The newlyweds shared some official photos of the day through the Fundacion Rafa Nadal, the NGO the tennis player set up on Mallorca

Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

 

Nadal, 33, met his wife through his younger sister Maribel, a childhood friend of Perello.

They started dating in 2005 when they were both teenagers after meeting several years before.


Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

The couple announced their engagement in January and revealed that the tennis ace had proposed on a romantic trip to Rome last May but chose to  keep the news private.

 

Perello, has always shunned the media spotlight although she has been pictured courtside at some of Nadal’s biggest matches.


Nadal kisses Perello after winning against France's Gael Monfils in the final tennis match at the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament in Monaco on April 17, 2016. 

But she isn't always there. In a 2011 interview with The Daily Telegraph, Perello explained: “He needs his space when he is competing, and just the idea of me hanging around and waiting on his needs all day tires me out.

“It would asphyxiate me. And then he would have to be worrying about me… No. If I followed him everywhere, I think there's a risk we might stop getting along.”

She works in insurance and is a business graduate but also serves as project director for the Rafa Nadal Foundation, the charity which Nadal launched almost ten years ago.

In an interview with sports newspaper Marca last year, the world number 2 hinted that he wouldn't be ready to start a family until he had retired from tennis. 

'I keep my commitment with tennis and my happiness', Nadal told Marca. 'I enjoy both in tennis and outside it. I have a girlfriend too and I am not alone to take decisions.

“Having family? I don't know, things are not easy to be predict. At this age, I thought that I would have already been a former player and that I would have started a family.”

READ ALSO: Rafa Nadal donates €1million to help victims of Mallorca floods 

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