Everyone has their off days, most of us can scrabble through them, but then most of us aren’t facing one of our main rivals in a do or die tennis match in the quarter finals of Roland Garros.
Unfortunately this was the situation Andy Murray found himself in today as he lost 6-4 6-7 6-3 6-2 to the world no. 6 David Ferrer.
Murray’s first serve went missing on Suzanne Lenglen today never getting out of the 50th percentile in the match. Add to that a forehand that refused to respond to the occasion, and tennis balls that seemed magnetically drawn to the middle of the net and you had the recipe for hard toil, frustration and disappointment.
Going into the match the world no. 4 was viewed very much as the underdog compared to Ferrer who has looked almost unbeatable on clay this year apart from against his compatriot Rafael Nadal. Both players are known for their returning and their ability to grind out a match and so there was a great deal of anticipation as the players came on court.
It didn’t take long for the first break points to come, in the 3rd game of the match for the Brit, but he was unable to convert the points, which set the trend for the rest of the match. Ferrer played himself into a break point position in the following game and Murray then handed him the break with another unforced error for a 3-1 lead.
Despite break point chances Murray was unable to take advantage of the opportunities offered and it wasn’t until Ferrer served for the set that Murray added some variety into his shots. He changed up his shots enough to throw Ferrer off his rhythm and win himself two break points. The world no.4 only needed one and broke back to bring the set back on serve, finally converting one of the eight break points that had been on offer in the set.
The relief offered by this break did not last long with Murray hitting another unforced error, his 19th of the match, giving the break straight back to Ferrer. Ferrer then came out again to serve for the set which he won 6-4.Read more (459 words)
The early games of the second set were interrupted by rain and the players were given a brief respite as the rain clouds passed overhead. When they were able to resume player the second set followed a similar line to the first with Ferrer breezing through his service games whilst Murray continued to struggle to get a first serve over the net. Murray’s forehand just seemed incapable of coming into play effectively in this match.
Murray broke Ferrer in the second set but in what became a trend of the match, Murray was unable to consolidate the break and Ferrer broke straight back.
The second set entered a tie-break and Murray consolidated a mini break with one of his best winners of the match, drilling a brilliant forehand up the line and led 5-1. Ferrer fought back in but Murray attacked the second serve for 3 set points, and levelled the match at a set apiece.
As at the beginning of the second, the third set opened with the rain coming down, which led to play being suspended. The players came back out to a forecast of sunshine and showers, Murray fans hoped that described just the weather and not Murray’s tennis for the rest of the match. Unfortunately the rain break did nothing to improve Murray’s standard of play as he showed little consistency and his first serve continued to betray him.
Both Ferrer and Murray exchanged breaks of serve but it was the Spaniard who eventually took the third set on the Murray serve after Murray hit a forehand long, summing up what a horrible day Murray was having with that shot.
Hopes were slightly raised at the beginning of the fourth in the Murray camp as with a noteworthy rally handing Murray an early break in the opening service game for the Spaniard. However, for the fourth time Murray was unable to hold his own serve to consolidate the break.
From there Ferrer was again in the driving seat at broke the world no.4 yet again. At 5-2 Murray served to stay in the match and despite a lovely winner on the line, Murray faced match points. The result was almost academic in the end.
Ferrer did what he does best, grind and grind consistently. The match was not quite as even keeled as some would have hoped for, and Murray will leave Roland Garros with some disappointment over his performance today. However, Murray did play periods of this match well and with the right attitude against Ferrer. This match was also the first four set match that Ferrer has played these championships, with Murray taking the only set so far off the Spaniard.
The Spaniard now faces his fellow countryman Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals, a prospect few would relish.