Thursday, August 12, 2010

Murray sees off stubborn Monfils

Andy Murray
Murray now holds a 3-1 advantage over Monfils

Andy Murray recovered from a second-set capitulation to defeat Gael Monfils and progress to the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

In an action-packed hardcourt encounter Murray impressed and toiled in equal measure against the super-fit Frenchman but eventually prevailed 6-2 0-6 6-3.

The British number one next faces David Nalbandian, a player he has never beaten before.

The in-form Argentine overcame Swedish fifth seed Robin Soderling 4-6 6-4 6-1.

Murray, seeded fourth, raced into a commanding 4-0 lead in the first, as his aggressive and adventurous baseline defence stretched the limits of his opponent's trademark athleticism.

Monfils, meanwhile, was not doing himself any favours with unforced errors coming regularly.

The 23-year-old dug deep in the fifth, though, battling back when faced with another break-point to register his first game of the match with an overhead smash that the Scot, despite a gritty effort, could not retrieve.

The remaining games of the opener went with serve - but only just. Two lazy mistakes, indicative of what was to follow in the next set, gifted Monfils three break points at 5-2.


However, more Monfils sloppiness and two Murray aces eventually saw the Scot hold on to wrap up the first set.

But with Monfils finding his range on both his serves and his returns, and Murray's game inexplicably unravelling, the match turned on its head.

Monfils found himself 5-0 up and when a scampering Murray could not return an expertly placed drop-shot, the tie was all square.

The momentum swung back in Murray's favour again when he grittily emerged victorious in a thrilling rally that ended when Murray despatched into open court after a Boris Becker-like defensive dive from Monfils.

Not only was the retrieval futile in terms of the point, the world number 15's acrobatics also left him clutching his shoulder and wincing in pain during a brief consultation with the trainer after also losing the next game to go 2-0 down.

He soldiered on, though, to save two break points and claim the next game, and broke Murray once more to move within two games of his rival at 4-2.

However, Murray again summoned his concentration to eventually grind out victory in two hours and five minutes, and set up an intriguing last-eight clash against former world number three Nalbandian.

The 28-year-old 2002 Wimbledon finalist has defeated Murray on the only two occasions they have met in the past - in 2005 and 2008.

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