Andy Murray vs Kevin Anderson, Tuesday, Estimated time - 7:30pm BST - Discuss the match
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Murray makes a meal of Malisse

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Andy Murray struggled past Xavier Malisse 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 to advance to the third round of the Rome Masters 1000.

Belgian maverick Malisse acquitted himself well against his more decorated opponent. His reckless, attacking tennis in the early part gave Murray a lot to think about. He was the aggressor in the first three games, but Murray snatched the first break after a handful of Malisse errors.

A miraculous overhead and a misjudgement by the ailing Murray then brought Malisse his deserved break – the score now at 3-3. Malisse was playing like a man free of shackles, apparently unaware that his opponent was ranked 37 places above him. But like so often, a cruel net chord changed the complexion of the tie. This brought the score to deuce on Malisse’s serve and Malisse faltered and could only muster a double fault to hand Murray a break back.

For the first time in the match, Murray began to let loose and exploit all corners of the court. He toyed with Malisse, pulling him this way and that with a few majestic angles. His artistry gave him the next two games with little fuss as he won the first set 6-2 – a score which hardly reflected the balance of play.

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Nonetheless, Malisse was not finished. He kept his head up and Murray’s relaxed attitude saw him lose a break via a long, clipped backhand. Malisse capitalised and held with ease as the score finally began to mirror proceedings. He turned on the style next as the highlight reel shots flowed. A devilish cross-court chip and damning net play saw him race to a 4-2 lead with a second break, leaving him with a 100% break points record in the second set. The angles which Malisse produced were majestic at times, and he coolly took the set 6-2.

Great players are judged on how well they shine in the face of adversity – the skill to win whilst on the back foot. A little luck helps too, and Murray called upon both of these virtues in the decider. A correct overrule by the chair umpire saw Murray break to go 2-0 up. It all happened so quickly though, Murray was basking in the glory of the finish line apparently in sight, when a double fault and a long forehand gave his opponent a break.

Malisse then returned the favour and lost his resulting service game, when Murray then decided to show why he is ranked the fourth best player in the world. He dug deep to escape four deuces as both players raised their games. Murray began to work his rival across the court and stretched to a 5-2 lead with a wicked cross-court forehand.

Malisse passed his test in holding to force Murray to serve out, and the Scot showed nerves of steel. He hit three aces in securing his third round berth, and wrapped up the final set 6-3.
[ Last edit by allyh84 May 10, 2011, 11:09 PM ] IP Logged
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Very nice report  clap Smile  Thank you.
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Great report, very well balanced
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Echo that!  A worthy write up Alistair.
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I missed the match, so thanks for such a good report. Smile
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Great report Alistair. Alas I won't get to see the match as they decided to show Spanish football instead of the advertised tennis pullhair
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Caz
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 Really good report! clap
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Thanks for the kind words.
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The best thing about yesterday was that in Malisse he was playing a bit of a clay court noob frankly.  Rome hasn't been the best tournament for Andy (only his third win yesterday!) so it was a relief to see him sneak through, as defeat would have been a terrible blow to his confidence.  He said in his post-match interview that he needs matches, and that is the major worry right now.  Muzza has played a lot less tennis than the other top guys, and whilst this may be an advantage later in the season, it is not right now.  If has any serious aspirations about RG (by that I mean QF or SF) then he needs to get a few games in here.  Hopefully it will come, but he was very irritable on court yesterday which is not a good sign!

Good he came through, but hopefully much more to come.  Right now he seems well off the level of the top three.  He needs matches, and the confidence of winning, to help get closer.
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Excellent report, Ally - thanks a lot - it was a good match overall and gave Andy a chance to do battle - and come through the winner thankfully.
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Watch the game and am so glad he won.Any win is a win.
Did not realize that Darren Cahill was in his box ,they all looked very poker faced .Hope He will give Andy some good tips to help me through to the next round with a deceided win.
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Nice report, Alistair. Well done.

If Andy keeps losing his service games and has difficulty in beating Malisse, I cannot perceive any immediate success for him on the red stuff. RG is a competition too far for him
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Just watching Nadal v Lorenso. Nadal has won the second set 6-4. He lost the first set 7-6 and was playing poorly. Seems  to have lost his timing and rythm. The Italian has been playing very well. Nadal broke Lorenzo in the first game of the third set. Never seen Nadal play so poorly. confused confused confused
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Just watching Nadal v Lorenso. Nadal has won the second set 6-4. He lost the first set 7-6 and was playing poorly. Seems  to have lost his timing and rythm. The Italian has been playing very well. Nadal broke Lorenzo in the first game of the third set. Never seen Nadal play so poorly. confused confused confused
Watched Lorenzo play yesterday he is really good and has given Rafa  good working out.
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Just watching Nadal v Lorenso. Nadal has won the second set 6-4. He lost the first set 7-6 and was playing poorly. Seems  to have lost his timing and rythm. The Italian has been playing very well. Nadal broke Lorenzo in the first game of the third set. Never seen Nadal play so poorly. confused confused confused

I have the feeling that Nadal has lost his confidence having been thoroughly outplayed and defeated by Djokovic at Madrid.

This is where Andy should be not Djokovic. I fear for Andy and that he is on the throes of a multi big slide downwards, unless he gets a proper full time coach like ND.
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