Murray survives 5-setter at French Open

Updated: 25 May 2010 16:38 IST

Fourth-seeded Andy Murray of Britain rallied from another two-set deficit against Richard Gasquet to outlast the Frenchman 4-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 in the fi

Murray survives 5-setter at French Open

Paris:

Fourth-seeded Andy Murray of Britain rallied from another two-set deficit against Richard Gasquet to outlast the Frenchman 4-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 in the first round of the French Open on Monday.

Murray was never in control during the first two sets when Gasquet showed the strong form that brought him a title at the Open de Nice last week, but the Frenchman then ran out of steam and needed massage on his legs after the fourth.

Murray also rallied from two sets down to beat Gasquet at Wimbledon to reach the quarterfinals in 2008.

"It was tough," Murray said. "It's important to try as much as possible not to show how you're feeling. It was long and tough and mentally pretty draining after being two sets to love down. You just need to try and stay focused on your own game."

Gasquet missed the French Open last year while serving a 2 1/2 month suspension after testing positive for cocaine, and skipped the tournament in 2008 due a left knee injury.

Gasquet also needed treatment on his legs during the final in Nice on Saturday, where he won his first title since 2007 by defeating Fernando Verdasco.

Murray, who played with a sore knee, will face another tough opponent, clay-court specialist Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina, in the second round.

Backed by a buoyant home crowd, Gasquet got off to a strong start, sending winners all over the court and mixing clever drop shots with powerful groundstrokes.

"It's difficult when guys are playing like that," Murray said. "I looked up at one point, and he'd hit like 59 winners and 30 unforced errors. You know, he's hitting a big ball. You need to chase everything down and fight hard and believe in yourself. That's it."

The Frenchman gained two break points in the 10th game with a blistering backhand winner down the line and clinched the set when Murray buried a forehand volley into the net.

Both players held their serve throughout the second set, although Murray was forced to save a set point in the 12th game with a forehand volley.

Gasquet sent down two aces in the tiebreaker and went up 5-3 before Murray leveled with a passing shot directed right at him that prompted boos in the crowd. Gasquet moved ahead again with a forehand winner and closed out the set with a neat serve and volley.

Murray lost his temper and started to complain to the umpire at the changeover, accusing his opponent of disrupting his focus.

"Every single time I've got to serve in this match, except once, he stopped me," Murray said, referring to Gasquet's refusal to play while spectators were still moving in the stands. "It's amazing."

Gasquet said he didn't understand what Murray was saying during the match.

"You know, I'm struggling to understand English," Gasquet said. "So with Murray being Scottish, it was impossible for me to understand."

Gasquet looked poised to wrap up a quick victory when he broke for a 3-2 lead in the third set, but Murray immediately leveled when the Frenchman sent a forehand wide.

"When I served at 3-2 I was really tired," said Gasquet, who has now lost nine of his last 10 five-set matches. "And in a Grand Slam it's difficult, especially when you play a guy like Murray who is always fighting. He's got a lot of experience and he knows how to deal with the important points."

Gasquet saved a set point in the 10th game before missing a smash and letting Murray clinch the set with a forehand winner.

The 23-year-old Gasquet had his left thigh massaged by the tournament doctor at the changeover but the Frenchman could hardly run for the rest of the match.

After winning 10 consecutive matches prior the French Open, Gasquet said he would have liked an extra day's rest and played on Tuesday instead.

"But I would not trade my title in Nice against a first-round win here," Gasquet said. "And after this match, I know that I can play at my best level again. I'm playing well again."

Topics : Tennis Andy Murray
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