Murray keeps his cool in Miami heat to see off Tipsarevic over three tough sets
22:06 GMT, 28 March 2012
Andy Murray has started to consider the possibility of making this city his primary base, but his stays in the biggest tournament it hosts seem never to be without their dramas or discomforts.
After two years of losing in the first round of the Sony Ericsson Open, the world No 4 needed to survive an attack of biliousness before seeing off Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the quarter-finals.
It was a gutsy win in all senses, taking 2hr 38min, and he was left awaiting a possible semi-final meeting with Rafael Nadal, faces Frenchman Jo Wilfried Tsonga in a bid to make the last four.
Made to work: Andy Murray was taken to three sets by Janko Tipsarevic in Miami
Murray’s problems only surfaced halfway through the first set, when he began to move slightly awkwardly and make movements as if his back had gone stiff.
After his customarily nervous start when broken in the first game he had pulled ahead to 4-2 and had chances to extend that lead when his usually metronomic backhand started to miss badly and the Serb, always a tough nut to crack, came surging back to win the set without reply.
Murray called on the doctor and trainer and complained that he wanted to wretch when taking on any fluids. A couple of tablets were dispensed but when he slumped to 0-2 in the second that was six consecutive games lost and a swift exit appeared to be beckoning.
It was then that the antacid started to kick in and he became a walking advert for the virtues of gastric medicine, visibly more comfortable as he clawed back the break and made the decisive move to win a Tipsarevic service game for 5-3 before closing it out.
Tough nut to crack: Tipsarevic gave Murray a run for his money before succumbing
The heat and humidity makes this an unpleasant place to have an upset stomach, but as it wore off he upped his level again in the deciding set, producing the kind of assertive tennis that he and Ivan Lendl have been working on. The decisive break came at 1-1 in the third set when he converted a third break point against hismildly eccentric opponent, the player who substituted for him at the Barclays ATP World Finals in November when the Briton pulled out with a groin strain.
Murray has never been tempted to join the migration of tennis’s leading stars to Monte Carlo but has admitted that establishing himself semi-permanently in America has its appeal.
He already owns an apartment in this city and does some of his training here. Now, with his partnership alongside Lendl taking root and his mentor living two-and-a-half hours north up the Florida coast, it is starting to make sense to spend the lion’s share of his time off the circuit in the States.
Game, set, match: Murray celebrates his victory in the quarter-finals in Miami
Murray is currently happily ensconced in Surrey’s footballer belt and shows no sign of wanting to follow his management stablemate Lewis Hamilton to Monaco, but America might be a different matter.
‘A lot of players have asked me why I don’t live in Monte Carlo,’ he said of the well-known tax haven.
‘If I was ever going to move I would do it firstly because I want to spend time there and have friends there. And here (Miami) I have a lot of friends.
‘I love it here, and now with Ivan I’m probably spending three and a half months of the year here. But it’s not something I’ve looked into loads. I’d be doing it for tennis reasons rather than tax reasons because this is the best place for me to train.’