Murray capitalises as Gasquet flakes

By for on
In a match in which Richard Gasquet showed why he will never come close to a grand-slam title and Andy Murray allowed a glimpse of why he might, the Scot obliterated the mercurial Frenchman 1-6 6-4 6-1 6-2 in the fourth round of the French Open.

With his narrow shoulders and low body, Gasquet looks like an overgrown dwarf. But for 30 minutes, he played giant tennis. The Frenchman came out swinging, dictating play with outrageous angles on his backhand and landing some unanswerable dropshots that simply died in the dirt.

In temperatures that barely reached the mid-teens and backed by a mildly partisan Parisian crowd of around 27 hardy souls, Gasquet mixed groundshots with smart sorties to the net. As Murray fell to a 6-1 deficit, he was being bested on serve and in both the forecourt and backcourt.

As the second set kicked off and the slate was wiped clean, the fourth seed stepped up to the white line and began dictating play. He surged to a 4-2 lead, only to be pegged back by some fierce, untamed backhands roaming wild close to the Bois de Boulogne.

Gasquet struck back with stunning court coverage to level at 4-4. The British number one survived game points to hold for 5-4 and the pressure was on the Frenchman.

Pressure has been about the only bedfellow Gasquet has ever turned down. But this was the new Gasquet, the one who'd extinguished the flame of red-hot talent Dimitrov in round two and recorded two bagels against Tommy Haas in round three.

As Gasquet skied a fluffy smash, dumped a forehand halfway up the net and double-faulted to gift Murray the set, we were reminded that the Frenchman is still as flaky as the 48-pack that Mr Whippy keeps in his vans to top off his 99s.

From here, it was plain sailing. When it didn't matter, Gasquet was brilliant. When it did, he went missing. Murray was allowed free rein with his shotmaking, executing a delightful array of lobs, dropshots and geometric backhands that put the man from Beziers into a lethal tailspin.

With Gasquet showing the competitive edge of a diced courgette, the number four seed surged to victory with some virtuoso hitting rewarded by the paltriest of handclaps.

On a windy, chilly, testing day on Court Philippe Chatrier, tennis was one of the few things that Gasquet didn't fancy, and he reminded his exasperated followers why the Richard Gasquet Foundation aims to help adolescents who struggle to find their place in society and who suffer from a lack of confidence.

Conversely, the Murray camp will be buoyant as the Scot fights for a semi-final berth against David Ferrer. The Spaniard is unquestionably top-four material on clay and has conceded just 25 games to date in these fascinating championships.
More than a glimpse perhaps Nigel (leaving aside that first set)?  Looking forward to full report.
June 04, 2012, 08:08 PM
By Ruthie

A bit of a privilege to watch sets 3 and 4, I'd say. 28 forehand winners, I believe. Yes  clap
Poor old Crashquet the French press will crucify him. However, wouldn't mind crucifying the French crowd myself.  shocking
Come on Andy! yay
June 04, 2012, 08:13 PM
By blueberryhill

lmao Brilliant as always. Can't decide whether 'Pressure has been about the only bedfellow Gasquet has ever turned down.' or 'we were reminded that the Frenchman is as flaky as the 48-pack that Mr Whippy keeps in his vans to top off his 99s.' is my favourite line.
June 04, 2012, 08:19 PM
By Hazybear

Excellent report Nigel - and a nice touch with the opening paragraph.
Ferrer might be a different matter but Andy has a knack of pulling off surprises - let's hope he manages an unexpected win here. Did you miss out on your real vocation as a comedian, by the way - the report was very entertaining in its entirety.
June 04, 2012, 08:22 PM
By janscribe

I am genuinely absolutely plastered on Pimms and Bishop's Finger.

It was a cool match.
June 04, 2012, 08:34 PM
By Grabcopy

I am genuinely absolutely plastered on Pimms and Bishop's Finger.

It was a cool match.

So did you start drinking because of the first set then? Or was the day's inebriation caused by endless toasts to her majesty...Wink
June 04, 2012, 08:46 PM
By blueberryhill

Love this write  up  HILARIOUS  lol 
June 04, 2012, 08:59 PM
By backhandslice

Thanks Nigel. Never tried Pimms...not sure if it's available in Canada. 
What a scorcher from Andy. Pure poetry in motion.
June 04, 2012, 09:06 PM
By scotnadian

LOL at your match report Nigel.  But was 'mildly partisan' supposed to be sarcastic?  
All those who have been saying that Lendl has made no difference please take note of all those fh winners.  Also pleasing to see Andy coming to net so much and usually with good effect.  Some of his tennis was a real joy to watch today and it reminded me of a younger Andy but with more power to back up the skill.
Am currently watching match of the day on eurosport - brings home just how good a comm Courier is and so much more positive about our Andy's skills. 
 yay yay yay clap clap clap
June 04, 2012, 09:48 PM
By Ruthie

Andy looked solid from the 2nd set onwards. He has nothing to fear going into Wednesday's match.

Ferrer has a losing record against Andy at slams, much like Gasquet's.
June 04, 2012, 10:06 PM
By syc23

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