Andy Murray beats David Ferrer to reach French Open semi-finals

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Roland Garros
Andy Murray
French Open
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 24 May - 7 June
Coverage: Live text and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentaries on every Andy Murray match and other key matches.

Andy Murray dug deep to beat Spain's David Ferrer for the first time on clay and reach his third French Open semi-final.

The Briton, seeded third, won 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 5-7 6-1 and will face world number one Novak Djokovic in the last four.

Murray, 28, missed a match point in the third set but dominated the fourth to extend his unbeaten run on clay to 15 matches.

The victory takes him through to his 16th Grand Slam semi-final.

It looked as though Murray might have let the chance slip when a 3-0 lead and a match point went begging in the third set.

1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash
"This is what Andy was hoping to achieve - a semi-final. He's having a great clay-court season.
"Of course Djokovic in the semi-final is going to be tough but they have turned out to be very good matches when these two have met.
"Mentally can he hang with Djokovic? I think the time is right for him to do that, but we'll soon see."

However, two fabulous backhand passes helped him reassert his dominance early in the fourth and the Scot wrapped up arguably his best clay-court win after three hours and 16 minutes.

"The third set was tough to lose having match point," said Murray. "The groundsman watered the court and I went to the bathroom to take a few minutes and get my composure back.

"It's going to be an extremely tough match against Novak. I'm going to need to play a high-quality match to have a chance."

His quarter-final was very much the undercard at Roland Garros on a day when Djokovic was taking on nine-time champion Rafael Nadal on Court Philippe Chatrier.

The Scot had his own landmark to achieve on Court Suzanne Lenglen, however, as he targeted a first win in five attempts against clay-court expert Ferrer.

Murray was the more aggressive player, as expected, but also managed fewer unforced errors in a contest of punishing baseline exchanges.

Murray v Ferrer
Andy Murray earned his first win on clay against David Ferrer following four defeats
Murray is the first Briton - man or woman - to reach three semi-finals at Roland Garros
The match lasted three hours and 16 minutes

The normally rock-solid Ferrer struggled with his serve, making 11 double faults and winning just 33% of points on second serve.

There were 13 breaks in total as two of the game's best returners traded blows, the first three games all going against serve.

Murray was broken to love in a poor game when he had the chance to serve out the set at 5-4, but took control of the tie-break after a woeful Ferrer volley.

The Scot reeled off 12 of 15 points as he moved 4-1 clear in the second, with Ferrer giving up his serve after an eighth double fault, and nine games out of 11 put Murray in command at 3-0 in the third.

Ferrer, 33, remains one of the best competitors in the sport though and fought his way back to level terms before saving a match point on serve at 5-4.

The Spaniard might have been unhappy with the courtside photographers, complaining to the umpire about their noise, but he broke again and served out the set to reignite his hopes.

Murray was under pressure and left the court to cool down, returning in superb form as he once again took the game to Ferrer and made his greater power tell.

A stunning cross-court pass gave him the immediate break in the fourth set, and he opened the next game with a copycat shot to grab the momentum and thrill the crowd.

There was no way back for Ferrer this time as Murray stormed into a 5-0 lead, and the Briton converted his third match point with a big serve followed by a fist pump in the direction of his team.

"I didn't serve so good in all the match and he played with more power than me," said Ferrer.

"Andy's playing with more confidence with his game and he's playing more aggressively."

Andy Murray
Andy Murray has reached his third French Open semi-final
Andy Murray and David Ferrer
Murray is seeking the third Grand Slam tournament win of his career

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