Struggling Murray gains Ramos-Vinolas revenge
Andy Murray looked set for another defeat to Albert Ramos-Vinolas, but the Spaniard was unable to put the world number one away.
An out-of-sorts Andy Murray avoided a second defeat to Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the space of eight days by getting himself out of trouble to reach the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open.
Ramos-Vinolas upset Murray in the third round of the Monte-Carlo Masters last week and had plenty of chances to prove that was no flash in the pan in his homeland, but the world number one prevailed 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-4).
The top seed struggled on serve and was way off his best on the Pista Rafa Nadal clay, engaging in several debates with umpire Carlos Bernardes and growing increasingly infuriated with the errors mounting.
Yet Murray saved seven break points and Ramos-Vinolas was unable to serve out the match, with the three-time grand slam champion taking all three break-point opportunities before winning a decisive tie-break to set up a last-four meeting with Dominic Thiem.
Ramos-Vinolas carried on where he left off against the Wimbledon champion in Monte Carlo, bossing a first set in which a struggling Murray's first-service percentage was as low as 35.
Murray was outplayed in an opening set in which he was broken twice and continued to rack up the errors as he came under pressure in the second.
But a combination of wastefulness from Ramos-Vinolas and stoic Murray defence saw five break points come and go for the left-hander before the Olympic champion finally earned a first break to level the match.
Ramos-Vinolas responded by winning the first two games of the decider, but the tide turned after the underdog was treated for a foot injury as Murray levelled at 2-2 and also broke back straight away after going 5-4 down.
Having failed to serve out the match, a seemingly nervy Ramos-Vinolas was unable to recover from going 4-0 down in the tie-break and bowed out.