In the first of today's BNP Paribas Masters semi finals, Andy Murray secured his first ever final berth in the tournament with a straight sets win over David Ferrer which was anything but straightforward. In just under two hours, the Scot wrestled his way to a 6-4 6-3 victory and will face the winner of Novak Djokovic against Stan Wawrinka.
Murray starts well but Ferrer fires back
Starting the match at a frantic pace and with the same effective attacking returns which had seen him break his last two opponents in the opening games, Murray once again took the match to Ferrer. Racing into a 0-40 lead courtesy of a delicious forehand down the line, a shot which Murray would utilise with effect throughout the match, the break was sealed when Ferrer fired into the net.
After holding his own game with ease things suddenly looked like they could get away from Ferrer and a titanic third game unfolded with Murray smelling blood. The rallies were lengthy and the shot making at times was equisite. Murray deliciously conjured up break points at 2-0 as he forced Ferrer into the corner before sending a winner across the court. Ferrer produced some equally stunning tennis to save the break points and again the merry-go-round repeated. The importance of the game was clear to see and as Murray looked increasingly likely to steal it, Ferrer fired an incredible lob over Murray to set up game point which he grasped.
Had Murray won that game, there was the sense that he would have ran away with the set but the mini-victory for Ferrer revitalised the match as a contest.
Two holds of serve followed, Ferrer's to love, and at 3-2 Murray suddenly found himself in deep trouble. His swings were not so crisp and Ferrer was reaching everything with his racket. For the first time in the match, Murray was break points down and as he deflatedly fired the ball into the net the contest was all square.
Murray would continue in a terrible manner with Ferrer all on top and looking dangerously like breaking again at 3-4. On a second serve, Murray miraculously saved a break point as Ferrer skewed a shot wide and two gigantic serves from Murray saved the day.
But the drama was not done yet as on the very next service game Murray somehow found himself 0-40 up and with the very real chance of breaking to serve for the set. At 2-0 he could have been out of sight but the match had swung towards the Spaniard. Suddenly it looked like swinging back.
And it did so in stunning fashion with Murray producing a delicate drop volley to seal the break. He served out with ease and from the depths he looked back on top.
The pendulum continues to swing
However, any hopes of a sudden Murray march to victory were quelled immediately in the second set when at 1-2 he played some of his worst tennis of the week and sent a bread-and-butter backhand down the line wide to gift the ascendency back to the Spaniard.
Murray is often a man who plays best when he is behind, just look at his recovery in yesterday's dramatic match with Richard Gasquet. Once again he had to call on all of his might as he quickly turned angst into control, racing into a 0-40 lead oncemore on the Ferrer serve, who was disappointing in a winning position again, before sealing the break back on a Ferrer missed volley.
The match looked destined to go the distance now but in the very next Ferrer service game Murray opened up a half chance at 0-30. Ferrer roared back to 30-30 but then on break point he fired a back hand wide after a long baseline exchange with Murray and now was on the brink.
Murray would seal the win on the last Ferrer service game at 5-3 in the second as a Ferrer double fault gifted the Scot a match point which he took with some aplomb.
It had been a hard struggle and at times it looked like Ferrer would snatch the match but in the end Murray prevailed to make his first ever final in Paris.
He will play the winner between Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic.