Andy Murray has survived his much hyped opening round match at Roland Garros against Richard Gasquet, winning in 5 sets 4-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 after almost 4 hours of play.
Against Richard Gasquet, the recent winner of Nice, Andy Murray was always going to have to work hard to ignore the favouritism of the crowd, while finding away to keep his intensity up. At 4-4, with both players having had numerous break point chances in a high quality match, the crowd started chanting “Richard! Richard!” as Gasquet served to successfuly force Murray to serve to stay in the match. Too many drop shots, and incredible angles from his beautiful single handed backhand brought up double set point for the Frenchman. As Murray dumped another volley in the net, the French crowd leapt to their feet to applaud the 6-4 set.
As the second set started Gasquet maintained his form, placing some beautiful volleys when he came to the net. The fact that the match was being played on the second event court, rather than on center court, favoured the Frenchman, who’s request for the court was granted, reducing the area around the court for Murray to run down balls.
Forcing Murray to go for more and more, Gasquet got a break point chance in the fourth game, but was unable to convert. As the games continued, and the high quality points continued to force each player to play brilliant shots, Gasquet began to show signs of fatigue, repeatedly looking up to his box for support, and at times in irritation.
When he won Nice, Gasquet said he was exhausted, just two days later he found himself embroiled in a 5 set tussle against the Scot, who, after a recent poor showing at Masters events, was determined not to be sent packing early. Unfortunately for Richard the stats were against him, having lost 8 of his last 9 five set matches. The fitness of Andy Murray and the fatigue of the Frenchman ultimately played a roll in the outcome.
After the match Richard said he was “really, really tired, so it’s hard in Grand Slam especially against Murray. He’s always fighting, fighting, putting all the balls in the court. He’s running well. I was close, but I didn’t… It was really, really hard for me to finish the match. He played well, and in a Grand Slam you have to be 100 percent to win, especially against Andy.” – Richard Gaquet
“It was tough. He was just ripping balls. I looked up at one point and he’d hit, like, 59 winners and 30 unforced errors. When I saw he was struggling, I just kept moving him about as much as possible. There were a lot of long rallies and, as the match went on, I started to win more and more of them.” – Andy Murray