Toothless Murray bunted out

By for on
Andy Murray was knocked out of the Monte Carlo Masters event 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-3 by Tomas Berdych. The Scot was out gunned and looked bereft of ideas in a passive car crash of a tennis match.

Murray has never beaten a top 8 player on clay, and today provided plenty of evidence as to why that's the case. When he's at his red hot peak, such as against Nadal in the semis of this event last year, Murray is able to threaten good results against great clay courters. When operating some way below his best, as he was today, he's unable to generate the consistency and power required to dominate from the back of the court.

Murray was in trouble from the start, staving off seven break points in the first set alone. Berdych pounced on frequent short balls from the Murray forehand, driving the Scot out wide before trotting to the net to put away the inevitable floated forehand return. Throughout the match the Scot was unable to counter this tactic and it was only some big serving (and big misses from Berdych) that kept the first set competitive. Seven spurned break points and four set points later and Murray emerged as the unlikely winner of the first set tie break.

Berdych knuckled down in the second set. Fractionally safer ground strokes and a little more consistency resulted in the Czech cantering to victory.

This was a horribly disappointing performance for the Scot, and questions will again be raised about his competitiveness on this surface. On this evidence, he's unlikely to become the first Brit to win a tour clay court event since Buster Mottram in 1977.
Eyebrow raise.
April 20, 2012, 01:05 PM
By Bevc

passive car crash of a tennis match.
April 20, 2012, 01:16 PM
By Mark

Was it really that bad?  Eyebrow raise.
Berdych was at the top of his game and serving brilliantly and Andy was far from his but no certainly not a "car crash." hammer
April 20, 2012, 01:31 PM
By blueberryhill

Nor toothless, IMO.  I've seen worse results and a less critical headlines.
April 20, 2012, 01:38 PM
By Bevc

Buster Mottram 1976 I think, in Palma.
April 20, 2012, 01:41 PM
By Bevc

Maybe Nigel's April Fools wasn't so silly after all. devil
April 20, 2012, 01:42 PM
By Mark

He was technically and tactically somewhat below par though
April 20, 2012, 01:43 PM
By araminta

He was technically and tactically somewhat below par though

Of course. I think we'd all agree on that.
April 20, 2012, 01:44 PM
By blueberryhill

Article is a bit wrong, I believe he beat Davydenko in the quarters in Monte-Carlo in 2009 and he was seeded 8 when the top 8 players were playing!

Regardless of that it was a horrible match to watch!
April 20, 2012, 01:47 PM
By Adam Street

I think some of the comments are a bit harsh. Andy is not a good clay courter and it takes him time to play well on it. The courts are bad too just look at how the ball was bouncing. I think he did the best he could on the day. After all two good clay court player have been injured and I do not think Andy was 100% happy with the court. He will remember he got an injury on clay last year. So please do not be so harsh with your opinions.
April 20, 2012, 01:48 PM
By Littlebuddha

Phil doesn't get a lot of losing matches to report on but I did find this, and a similar scoreline.  Doesn't seem quite as harsh, imo.

Andy Murray crashed out of the Paris Masters today after an enthralling yet petulant and error filled encounter with Tomas Berdych. The Czech took just over three hours to wrap up a 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 victory over the second seed.

Murray looked lethargic from the outset and the unforced error count started to increase alarmingly. Whether this was due to the effects of a long season, a re-occurrence of the hamstring injury that kept him out of Basel, or tiredness due to too much MW3, only the Scot knows.

Berdych dictated play and Murray spent the majority of the match scrambling three meters behind the baseline.  This in itself is not unusual, especially in matches against heavy hitting ball strikers, but the Scot's serve - always a mixed proposition - misfired alarmingly.

Murray will be disappointed by the way he twice came from behind only to throw the opportunity away. The Czech served for the second set at 5-4, but a series of tight looking unforced errors gave Murray the break back. In the tiebreak the Scot again fell behind, slipping to 4-2 before rallying to 5-4. Unfortunately a simple forehand miss handed Berdych the crucial final mini break.

In the third set Murray spurned multiple break points before sliding to 0-40 on his own serve. Two break points were saved before the Scot inexplicably double faulted.

Murray will now return to London to begin his preparations for the World Tour Finals at the O2.

Appears that Andy was doing the same kind of stuff now as he did then but not a car crash or extraction in sight.
April 20, 2012, 01:52 PM
By Bevc

It was bad enough to see Andy play ,without having to read in harsh terms Phils piece,who ,I might add is probably the most negative person on this forum.
April 20, 2012, 01:52 PM
By iamabritt

LLB, agree, am sure that would've been on Andy's mind. Remember that awful ankle injury anyone?
April 20, 2012, 01:52 PM
By blueberryhill

“Sometimes guys just play well. No matter how much you would have liked to have dictated the points, when someone serves 137 miles an hour to the line, hits a forehand to the line, you can't dictate the point. That's what happened on his service games.”

Still, Murray was relatively upbeat about his overall level of performance here in Monte Carlo. “On the clay, it's quite a slow process,” he said.

“I'm never going to play my best straightaway. It was a decent start.”

Whole article at
April 20, 2012, 02:16 PM
By Elena

Phil, you made a hay day out of that for yourself!
April 20, 2012, 02:19 PM
By adb..OH

Good performance, Andy.
April 20, 2012, 02:23 PM
By Clydey

First match on clay. Witnesses a horror of an injury in front of his eyes. Still unsure of his clay footing. Playing no 6.
People, cut him some slack!
April 20, 2012, 02:25 PM
By blueberryhill

LLB, agree, am sure that would've been on Andy's mind. Remember that awful ankle injury anyone?
And I can't believe that what happened to Benneteau yesterday (and another player who had to be wheelchaired off the court) didn't prey a little on his mind.  What happened to Benneteau happened right before his eyes, and he was clearly upset by it.  He most definitely wasn't happy with the surface, and that was obvious the way he kept poking at it and banging the clay off his shoes.   Also didn't he point out to the umpire yesterday that parts of the court had holes in it?  And what about the two dreadful bounces which affected first Berdych and then Andy due to the court's surface?  Disgraceful maintenance by the tournament organisers, imo.

OK Phil, be as negative as you like - we've come to expect it after all - but I make no apology by saying that I go along with BBH and Bevc on the subject of what you say about this match, and also what Andy himself has to say.  Given his improving record on this surface generally over the last two years, and the fact that he now has Lendl as his coach, I unreservedly expect continuing improvement as the clay court season progresses.  The return of some of Andy's old behaviour was unwelcome but nobody is going to change long-term bad habits quickly.  Personally I'm going to put this match to the back of my mind and focus on his performance against Troicki instead.  A different kettle of fish from Berdych certainly, but at least Andy showed us just how superbly he is capable of playing on clay.

April 20, 2012, 02:35 PM
By Aileen

Re blueberryhill's last comment. Here, here. Totally agree.  I think the write up is harsh. What I will take from this tournament is the match against Troicki. It was an absolute joy. It is worth following Murray for those sorts of performances alone. I am even more convinced that Benneteau's injury must have been playing on his mind, especially if he has had a nasty injury on clay in the past.  Thank you for summing up and expressing so concisely what I was meaning...!!!
April 20, 2012, 02:38 PM
By Masaka

I suppose booger's ultra-negative write up was only to be expected.  He's like a vulture waiting to swoop for blood the minute Andy trips up.
Yes it was disappointing but I agree with littleb and others that I'm sure Benneteau's accident preyed on his mind and remember too one of his best friends on tour Monaco was also injured in the same spot.  Also the sky comms made the point that the dreadful service favoured the aggressor over the counterpuncher because the latter could never be sure where the ball would bounce.  So ok for berdych to be more philosophical about it in his post-match sky interview.
Much as I dislike Berdych he played really well today. Andy was well below his best.  But remember too that Birdy played DC on clay recently and this is Andy's first tourno on clay since RG.  A shame too that he went back to his negative ways but as Aileen said people don't change overnight.  I'm hoping that Lendl will have much to show him from this week - both the positives and the negatives.
April 20, 2012, 02:45 PM
By Ruthie

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