Simon Reed

Murray’s win comes at a cost

Simon Reed

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When you look at Andy Murray's victory over Richard Gasquet in five sets you have to ask yourself whether it is a good thing that he was able to come back from two sets down, or worrying that he found himself in such a situation in the first place?

In truth, it is a bit of both. Gasquet was sensational in the first two sets; he was producing some terrific tennis and he had the crowd right behind him, so Andy did superbly to come back and take the match.

You always felt that Gasquet was going to have to win in straight sets, and then when he lost the third Murray showed an impressively ruthless streak to win the match.

To be fair to Murray, he was playing quite well even in the first two sets; his temperament was good and he was taking every thing that the French crowd were throwing at him.

It shows just how far he has come as it would have been hard to imagine him winning such a match two or three years ago.

However, he was on court for over four hours, and you have to worry about how much that will have taken out of him, looking further on into the tournament.

He didn't seem too tired near the end, in stark contrast to Gasquet, but these long matches add up as the tournament goes on.

His next clash isn't easy either; he has got Juan Ignacio Chela, who is very comfortable on clay. Andy should win but it is the wrong type of match for him as it could again mean being stuck out on court for a long time.

He also needs to improve his first serve percentage if he wants to go far. He was around the 45 per cent mark against Gasquet which is not good enough. He's just making things harder for himself out there - he needs to be getting it up to around 60 per cent at the very least.

I have sympathy for Gasquet too. This is the second time he has been two sets up against Murray and lost (the last time was Wimbledon 2008), but I think this defeat had more to do with tiredness than mentality. I'd say the defeat was 70 per cent tiredness and 30 per cent mental.

He has won only one five-set match in his career and that tells its own story. But he has done so well to come back from his drugs ban, and to win in Bordeaux and Nice in successive weeks in the run up to this tournament was sensational. It looks like he is close to being back to his best

After losing the third set though he looked done. However, the French tennis federation did not do him any favours. I think it was pretty shocking of them not to give him an extra day's rest after winning those two tournaments.


Looking at Tuesday's order of play, the highlight for me is the last game on Philippe Chatrier as Lleyton Hewitt takes on Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

Chardy is a bit like Gasquet, a dynamic player who is very entertaining to watch and a huge crowed pleaser, but also someone who has question marks about his temperament.

It will be interesting to see if he can use the crowd to help push past Hewitt, who, while admittedly no longer at his best, is still a fine player.

It should be a rip-roaring contest that goes the distance and a cracking way to end the day.

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