Having beaten Nadal, Djokovic & Federer (each of them a few times) within the preceding six months, the 21-year-old Murray was considered as a Grand Slam title contender for the first time in his career at the Australian Open 2009. The four years older Verdasco, at the same time enjoyed an important progress in his own career too, being fresh after winning a clincher in the Davis Cup 2008 final, which pumped up his self-confidence tremendously. So both guys where on fire when they met on Rod Laver Arena. There were two crucial games in that 3-hour 12-minute encounter. The first one occurred as ‘Nando’ led 3:0* in the 2nd set – he won a 9-deuce game then, on sixth break point to secure himself hanging in at one set apiece; the second happened as he trailed *2:3 in the decider – he survived a 6-deuce game saving two break points: the first one with an ace down the T, the second one after a quite long rally as Murray was running from corner to corner chasing Verdasco’s punishing forehands – that rally basically wore down Murray so much that he played a poor service game right afterwards.
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