Settle in for a long one: Ferrer will push Murray all the way

 

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The Independent Online

A word of advice from a guy who has been around the block a few times: if you're going to watch Andy Murray against David Ferrer this afternoon, pack some extra sandwiches and make damn sure you go to the rest room before the match. This is going to go some.

This is a match where the two guys could be playing in front of a mirror, they have so much in common across their games. They are both fantastic movers and great returners – Ferrer describes his return as his best weapon and Murray was booming them back at Marin Cilic yesterday.

Both guys made pretty impressive work of dealing with tough-looking opponents. Murray never appeared in any danger as he dealt with another big Croat – boy, do they breed them big out there – in quick time. Bang, bang, bang: straight sets. Same for Ferrer against Juan Martin Del Potro and it sets up what could be one of the closest matches of this Wimbledon.

Ferrer showed on Centre that he is going to be very difficult to beat. Man, he's like a kangaroo out there. He likes to take a hop into his shots and he springs into action. He has such fizzing energy. But, more importantly, he played real smart against Del Potro. He moved the big Argentine around the court and kept his shots low. Del Potro had his chances in the first set but couldn't take them and, as with any top-level sport, if you don't take your chances you will get punished.

Today both men, your boy Andy and the Spaniard, cannot, I mean cannot do that. This is going to be intense, especially if that roof is shut. They are both superb athletes who have the ability to change the pace of a match. Ferrer did that well against Del Potro – look at the way he threw in the odd loopy forehand to push his opponent deeper behind the baseline.

The difference for Ferrer today will be that Murray will not falter as a rally develops, unlike some of the big guys. Murray has the mental discipline not to rush, to let the point develop – if he has to wait for the opportunity to pounce he will wait.

This is going to be about small margins. Murray knows it. Ferrer knows it. I have so much respect for both guys. This is a hard, hard match to call and it will be decided on maybe a few lucky breaks, the ability to capitalise on every break point.

Murray's progress to this stage has been impressive – good wins over a variety of tough opponents. There have been the two boom-boom matches with the Croat giants, Cilic and Ivo Karlovic, and the different challenges offered by Nikolay Davydenko and Marcos Baghdatis. All jobs well done. This is another step up the ladder, though, as you would expect in the last eight of a Slam.

Ferrer's energy will make it a big test of Murray's endurance and the work Ivan Lendl has done on the mental side. Ferrer beat Murray in the French Open a few weeks ago but that's over, baby, gone. It's absolute bull to say that will have any bearing on this afternoon.

That was Paris, this is Wimbledon. It's a whole different world but, man, is it a tough one to call.

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