Some points are bigger than others. Some points are longer than others. And some are both.
The rally that Andy Murray and David Goffin played at 2-2 in the first set of their quarterfinal in Shanghai on Friday was long, entertaining and, it would turn out, crucial to the result.
The Brit and the Belgian moved each other from side to side like video-game avatars. Goffin, a master of changing direction with the ball, seemed to have the advantage. He sent a running forehand into one corner, and then an even better running backhand into the other corner. The Belgian shot-maker, who is trying to reach his first year-end championship, had been on a roll the last two weeks, and he looked more than ready to continue it.
But this was where Goffin’s roll would end. He may have thought, as he threaded that down-the-line backhand into the corner, that he had won the point. And against most other opponents, he would have. But Murray stormed across the court in time to return the ball, and then hit a strong forehand crosscourt that turned the point in his favor. From there, Murray grabbed control of the rally and finished it with an inside-out forehand winner. He kept the upper hand the rest of the way in a surprisingly one-sided 6-2, 6-2 win.