Andy Murray produced a weak surrender of his French Open charge in losing 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 to Tomas Berdych in the fourth round.
The first set was one way traffic as Berdych capitalised on his seventh break point to go ahead. The Czech was serving well and dictating play as his higher ranked opponent was rendered clueless in losing the opener 6-4.
Berdych broke again early in the second but played a few sloppy points, therefore handing Murray a first break. Murray had finally found his competitive nature and hit a few booming serves to hold and take a 3-2 lead. Both men raised the bar in serving at this point as they became locked in a battle of clinical, no nonsense tennis. With Murray 4-3 up and about to return, the Scot stood debating with the umpire as rain lashed down. The heavens opened and both men left the court for a 45 minute weather delay.
After play resumed, Murray was becoming increasingly agitated about the poor surface conditions and this coincided with a second wind from Berdych. Two winners including a looping, crosscourt forehand at the net deservedly gave the Czech another break and with it the second set.Read more (206 words)
As the third set began, both players were chilled to the bone and squinting into the oncoming night darkness. It was soon clear that Murray’s title charge would also be put to bed soon as Berdych continued with his stubborn, reliable serving on big points and his superior length. Winners were becoming a stark rarity for the world number 4 and Murray lost a break by dumping a loose forehand into the net. Berdych again held his nerve to serve out to consolidate the break and go ahead 5-3. Another weak miscue by Murray when serving to stay in it gave Berdych the match.
World number 17 Berdych served impeccably well and was unflinchingly calm on at crucial moments. This, coupled with the consistent length and prowess at the net was the difference between the two men. It is clear that Murray struggles on clay, his footwork looked laboured and his cat like speed was not on show tonight. Fans should however take heart that the British number one was barely tipped to trouble the second week of the tournament and this is no great shock. Murray will now dust off his clay stained shoes and move onto the grass court season and July’s Wimbledon tournament.