Andy Murray loses ATP World Tour Finals opener

 

Andy Murray's chances of reaching the semi-finals at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London were dealt a major blow today as he lost his opening match 6-4 7-5 to Spain's David Ferrer.

The world number three had never been beaten by Ferrer on hard courts before but he seemed to be hampered by a leg problem and paid for a first-serve percentage well below 50%.

Murray, who was broken five times and let leads slip in both sets, will probably now need to beat world number one Novak Djokovic and in-form Czech Tomas Berdych if he is reach the last four at the O2 Arena.

Ferrer has had an impressive season, establishing himself as the leading player outside the top four, but Murray had won their previous four meetings including here last year and in back-to-back weeks in Tokyo and Shanghai last month.

The match quickly adopted a predictable pattern, with Ferrer drilling shots from the baseline while Murray attempted to knock his opponent out of his rhythm.

Murray got his reward with a break in only the third game, finally taking his fourth chance, but he promptly gave the advantage straight back with a loose series of points.

Murray has been in great form this autumn, winning titles in Bangkok, Tokyo and Shanghai, but he was struggling to get going today.

There were glimpses in the sixth game, not least a searing backhand pass that clinched a quite brilliant point, much to the delight of an O2 Arena that disappointingly was far from full.

The Scot, watched by good friend David Haye, was making life difficult for himself with a poor first-serve percentage and, when he did get a chance to break in the ninth game, he was made to pay for being too passive.

 

Murray appeared to be struggling with a leg problem and he was certainly not moving particularly well.

Suddenly Ferrer, who was playing a very solid match, was threatening the Murray serve to take the set. One chance disappeared with a wayward forehand but on the second it was the home hope who miscued.

Unsurprisingly, the trainer arrived to see Murray before the start of the second set, massaging and stretching out the world number three's left leg and hip.

Ferrer, the most dogged of Spanish baseliners, is certainly not the player one would want to face when struggling physically but Murray received an immediate boost with a break in the opening game after his opponent netted the simplest of backhands.

Again the 24-year-old's break did not last long, Ferrer winning four successive points on his opponent's serve to level at 2-2, and Murray looked in real trouble when a mis-hit and net cord helped the Spaniard to two more break points in the sixth game, but this time he held on.

And in the next game he raised the pace to move a break ahead once more, only to give it straight back with a double fault.

It was a fascinating contest, if far from a great match, but Murray's weakness on serve eventually proved the decisive factor as Ferrer brought up a first match point at 5-6 and took it with a backhand winner.

PA

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific