Tag Archives: giraldo

French Open 2012: Andy Murray to feed from Paris crowd

Murray to feed from Paris crowd in bid to drown out 'Mozart'

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UPDATED:

19:35 GMT, 3 June 2012

Andy Murray faces a huge away fixture on Monday against an French rival who was such a prodigious teenage talent, he used to be known as 'Mozart'.

The prize for the winner of the match against Richard Gasquet will be a place in the last eight of the French Open, and with a passionate Paris crowd looking on, there is every chance there will be drama – but only in the most positive sense.

Back in the groove: Andy Murray on song

Back in the groove: Andy Murray on song

What makes the prospect so enticing is not just the topsy-turvy nature of Murray's progress in the tournament thus far, but also the notion that, at 25, the supremely gifted Gasquet might finally be reaching maturity.

Alex Kay Talks Tennis

They have met three times in Grand Slams, and the Scot has won on every occasion, twice coming back from two sets down when his greater mental and physical strength has been the telling factor.

The balance between them may be shifting, however, and barely two weeks ago, at the Italian Open, Gasquet showed how he has improved in each of these departments by both out-fighting and outlasting Murray to win a gruelling third-round encounter.

On that occasion, the British number one's overall demeanour was poor, not helped by a separate back condition to the one that has bothered him here, and compounded by the absence of his main coach, Ivan Lendl.

Serving up a treat: Murray has played some enthralling games against Gasquet

Serving up a treat: Murray has played some enthralling games against Gasquet

After his comeback win over Jarkko Nieminen, with its accompanying controversies, Murray's approach was pitch-perfect on Saturday when he beat Colombian Santiago Giraldo in straight sets.

Lendl has been keeping a low profile here, and has remained notably inscrutable during matches, but it may be fair to speculate that he sent Murray out with instructions to keep his emotions in check and hide whatever he was feeling.

Whatever happened, it worked. He will need more of the same resilience against a player who seems to have added stamina to a beautiful set of ground-strokes that features one of the most poetic backhands in the game.

Blown Gasquet: Murray hopes the Frenchman will flounder

Blown Gasquet: Murray hopes the Frenchman will flounder

Moreover, it has been a big tournament for French heroics, so the masses at Roland Garros are primed.

'If you don't want to play in these sort of matches, with this sort of crowd, then there is not much point in playing tennis,' said Murray.

'You can often draw energy from a crowd that is against you.

'If I can get on top of him, I hope I can keep my foot down on him better than I did in Rome; I don't feel I played particularly well there.'.

French Open 2012: Andy Murray beats Santiago Giraldo at Roland Garros

No drama for Murray as fourth seed sails past Giraldo and into second week at Roland Garros

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UPDATED:

14:54 GMT, 2 June 2012

It was as if Thursday had never happened as Andy Murray produced a high-level display to see off Santiago Giraldo 6-3 6-4 6-4 in the third round of the French Open.

There was no sign of the back problems that proved so debilitating in his near miraculous win over Jarkko Nieminen two days ago, with the world number four serving well, moving okay and hitting the ball very cleanly.

Giraldo was a potentially dangerous opponent on clay but Murray ensured he was always in control with one break of serve in each set on Roland Garros' intimate Court 1.

Fist-pumping: Andy Murray claimed his spot in the last 16

Fist-pumping: Andy Murray claimed his spot in the last 16

When the 25-year-old was struggling
so badly against Nieminen on two days ago, it seemed inconceivable he
would still be in Paris.

But his practice sessions offered plenty of encouragement and he began the match with an ace.

Murray had at times been serving at little over 60mph on Thursday, his action reminiscent of a club hacker.

Giraldo won three games in their only
previous meeting in Barcelona a few weeks ago but he saw off Australian
teenager Bernard Tomic in straight sets in round two to give notice of
his talent.

Easy street: Murray

Outgunned: Santiago Giraldo

Outgunned: Murray eased past Santiago Giraldo

Murray was moving better and playing
well and he ramped up the pressure in the sixth game, breaking when
Giraldo netted a forehand.

And he wrapped up the set in convincing style with a hold to love after less than half an hour.
Murray showed just how well he has recovered from the back spasm that
struck him down on Thursday morning by serving a whole game of aces in
the second game of the second set.

Giraldo was playing well but Murray was firmly on the front foot, and the Scot broke serve for the second time to lead 3-2.

Giraldo saved one break point with a
forehand winner but when Murray had his man on a string he was not
letting go, and the Colombian could only dump a forehand into the net on
the next point.

Clean through: Murray dispatched Giraldo before the watchful eye of coach Ivan Lendl (right)

Clean through: Murray dispatched Giraldo before the watchful eye of coach Ivan Lendl (right)

Clean through: Murray dispatched Giraldo before the watchful eye of coach Ivan Lendl (right)

The 25-year-old seemed completely in
control of matters but his opponent was showing impressive grit and,
with Murray serving for the set, he brought up his first break point.

He could not take it, though, dumping a backhand into the net, and he did not get another chance.

Everything seemed to be working well for Murray, which was just as well because Giraldo was improving as the match wore on.

The 24-year-old Colombian survived a
very long game at the start of the third set, saving one break point
with a searing forehand cross-court winner.

That forehand was becoming more and
more of a feature of the match but Murray kept pressing and in the
seventh game he got his reward, taking his third break point when
Giraldo netted a backhand.

And that spelled the end for the
Colombian as Murray took his second match point with a backhand winner
to clinch victory after two hours and two minutes.

French Open 2012: Andy Murray must stop showing his pain in Paris

Moaning Murray must copy Novak's example and stop showing his pain in Paris

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 1 June 2012

The most talked-about spine at Roland Garros got a good stretch and work-out on Friday with the result that Andy Murray looks sure to take his place in the third round of the French Open.

A 45-minute session with coach Ivan Lendl went well enough and the word was that, unforeseen shocks when he wakes up on Saturday morning notwithstanding, he will tackle world No 50 Santiago Giraldo of Colombia.

There were certainly none of the worries that prompted Virginia Wade’s 'drama queen' remarks during Thursday’s win against Jarkko Nieminen, which brought into focus Murray's on-court demeanour as he went from walking wounded to four-set victor.

In better shape: Andy Murray hits a forehand during a practice session on day six of the French Open

In better shape: Andy Murray hits a forehand during a practice session on day six of the French Open

A fascinated onlooker was Murray's former coach Brad Gilbert, who often took the brunt of any on-court frustrations from his young client.

Gilbert was quick to point out that nobody but the player himself can know what is going on in his body at any time but he does see the virtue in being more guarded about injuries than is Murray’s natural inclination.

'Getting through a Slam can be a bit like a game of poker: you don’t want to let on to others too much of what is going on,' said Gilbert, ESPN commentator and one of the game’s most respected judges.

'If I was Andy I’d be inclined just to say that my back is fine, despite what might be going on. The guys he is measuring himself against are Djokovic, Nadal and Federer and you don’t really want them to know more than you have to if your back is not great.

Relaxed: Murray with hitting partner Dani Valverdu (second left) and coach Ivan Lendl (right)

Relaxed: Murray with hitting partner Dani Valverdu (second left) and coach Ivan Lendl (right)

'I thought Lendl did a great job in the coach’s box in the match against Nieminen. He just sat there completely calm and not showing emotion. I thought you could tell immediately something wasn’t quite right but then Andy had trouble with his ankle last year and still made the semis, which was a good performance, so maybe he can do that again.'

Last year Murray's French Open ailments reached almost comic proportions when he chipped a tooth on a baguette and in subsequent matches would look up at his coaching box and plunge his finger into his mouth at moments of frustration.

His demonstrative demeanour and lengthy answers to media questions about injuries mark him out from the three players above him and, for that matter, the Williams sisters, who always bat away any inquiries about their health.

Paris match: Murray faces world No 50 Santiago Giraldo of Colombia on Saturday at Roland Garros

Paris match: Murray faces world No 50 Santiago Giraldo of Colombia on Saturday at Roland Garros

We are talking about some of the finest competitors who have ever played the game in the trio above him and the two sisters, so these are stratospheric standards by which to judge the British No 1.

There is probably nothing in this that winning a Grand Slam would not change for Murray, with all the security and self-assurance that would bring.

Showed no emotion: Ivan Lendl

Showed no emotion: Ivan Lendl

In that event we would surely see less clutching at parts of the body when things are going awry. Djokovic used to be more obvious about any physical discomfort but gradually became calmer after winning his first Slam.

Assuming Murray has banished his back spasms and is fit – and although it was none too strenuous the lighthearted nature of practice suggested there were no serious concerns – he will still have to be on his guard against the useful Colombian.

It can often be the case that a tight scrape early in a tournament for a top player such as Murray can harden them up for the rest of the fortnight and he hopes that might be so.

'If something like this happens, or if you’re match points down and you come back to win, then there are lots of stories of guys starting to relax into the tournament a little bit,' he said.

'If I feel good on Saturday and my body’s OK, then I’ll be more relaxed than if Thursday had been smoother.'

Giraldo, who took out Australian No 1 Bernard Tomic in the second round, is one of two Colombians in the top 100 and a good friend of Murray’s Venezuelan assistant coach Dani Vallverdu.

He played Murray last month at the Barcelona Open and managed to take only three games off him.

'I just had a very bad day then,' he said. 'I am playing much better at the moment.'

French Open 2012: Andy Murray beats Jarkko Nieminen after injury scare

Murray recovers from injury scare to book spot in French Open third round

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UPDATED:

12:07 GMT, 31 May 2012

Andy Murray climbed off the canvas to defeat Jarkko Nieminen 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in their second-round clash at the French Open on Thursday.

The world No 4 appeared down and out as his ongoing back problem returned with a vengeance in the first set, rendering Murray virtually immobile and struggling to serve.

But he gradually loosened up and, from 4-2 down in the second set, and helped by a confused opponent, won 11 of the next 12 games to book a third-round meeting with Santiago Giraldo.

In trouble: Murray received treatment in the first set after struggling with back pain

In trouble: Murray received treatment in the first set after struggling with back pain

There was little sign of the drama to
come as the fourth seed took to Court Philippe Chatrier in front of the
customary sparse morning crowd and immediately tested Nieminen in a
lengthy first game.

The Finn, who beat Andre Agassi in
round one in 2005, is certainly no mug, and feels at 30 he has been
playing some of the best tennis of his career, but Murray was still a
heavy favourite having won all their three previous meetings.

Flat out: The British No 1 lost the opening set 6-1

Flat out: The British No 1 lost the opening set 6-1

Nieminen immediately brought up two
break points as the Scot gave the first signs of physical distress, with
frequent grimaces and glances to his box.

Murray saved those but he could not
close out the game and on his fourth chance Nieminen broke through. It
soon became clear Murray was in all sorts of trouble, barely able to
move, and in his second service game he was simply rolling his serve in.

Back from the brink: Murray came from behind to beat Nieminen at Roland Garros

Back from the brink: Murray came from behind to beat Nieminen at Roland Garros

Nieminen swiftly broke again to lead
4-0 and it was no surprise when the trainer arrived on court, Murray
taking a timeout for some stretching and massage.

The 25-year-old soldiered on and
promptly got one break back with a combination of going for broke on his
returns and a slight loss of concentration from Nieminen.

But Murray could still barely serve, rolling in his deliveries at less than 100mph, and Nieminen quickly wrapped up the set.

Tense: Kim Sears watches her partner play on as his coach Ivan Lendl (below) cuts a more relaxed figure

Tense: Kim Sears watches her partner play on as his coach Ivan Lendl (below) cuts a more relaxed figure

Tense: Kim Sears watches her partner play on as his coach Ivan Lendl (below) cuts a more relaxed figure

Tense: Kim Sears watches her partner play on as his coach Ivan Lendl cuts a more relaxed figure

The crowd, and even his opponent,
were clearly expecting a retirement at any moment but Murray was
obviously hoping his back would loosen up.

There were a few signs at the start
of the second set that that might be the case, with his serving
marginally more athletic, but his game was still seriously compromised
and he was quickly 2-0 down.

He held serve for the first time in
the match in the third game, but at this point Nieminen showed no signs
of the loss of focus that can often affect opponents in this situation.

Back from the brink: Murray has struggled with a niggling injury since the end of last year

Back from the brink: Murray has struggled with a niggling injury since the end of last year

That was certainly the case here last
year when Murray twisted his ankle in the third round, with German
Michael Berrer admitting afterwards he had felt sorry for the Scot.

Murray missed three chances to break
back in the sixth game but there now appeared at least a glimmer of
hope, and he did manage to draw level at 4-4.

Nieminen piled the pressure back on
in the next game, forcing three break points, but Murray did very well
to save them all and move into the lead for the first time.

Finn-ished: Nieminen looked on course to upset Murray but his game suffered as the match wore on

Finn-ished: Nieminen looked on course to upset Murray but his game suffered as the match wore on

It seemed a key moment, and that was
reinforced when Nieminen cracked for the first time, with two simple
errors and a double fault – sandwiching an exquisite lob from Murray –
handing the fourth seed the set.

Nieminen had the look of a man
bemused as to why he was no longer winning, and he flung away his
racquet in frustration as Murray broke again at the start of the third
set, making it six games in a row.

Nieminen stopped the rot at seven,
again saving a break point, but Murray was playing superbly now despite
still not moving entirely freely and swiftly wrapped up the third set.
It really was a remarkable turnaround, and Murray looked in complete
control when he broke the Nieminen serve for the sixth time in the first
game of the fourth set.

The Finn was a spent force now,
helping his opponent with a number of tame unforced errors, and Murray
moved to within one game of victory as a Nieminen double fault gave away
yet another break.

And Murray ensured there were no
final twists, taking his second match point to clinch one of his more
memorable victories after two hours and 27 minutes.

Andy Murray out of Barcelona Open after defeat to Milos Raonic

Murray suffers shock exit after big-serving Raonic sends Brit packing in Barcelona

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UPDATED:

13:28 GMT, 27 April 2012


Disaster: Andy Murray crashed out in straight sets

Disaster: Andy Murray crashed out in straight sets

Andy Murray suffered a surprise exit at the Barcelona Open losing in straight sets to big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic.

The 6ft 5in 21-year-old from Ontario, who crushed sixth seed Nicolas Almagro in the last round, headed into the match having never beaten a top-eight player but rarely looked overawed en route to a 6-4 7-6 (7-3) triumph.

He endured a minor blip when serving for the second set, allowing second seed Murray his first break of the match, before breezing through the tie-break to clinch the biggest win of his fledgling career in one hour 44 minutes.

Raonic, known as 'The Missile', will face third seed David Ferrer or seventh seed Feliciano Lopez in the semi-finals, the Spanish duo meeting in the second quarter-final in Catalonia.

Murray had little difficulty in the last round against Santiago Giraldo, but knew he was in for a battle from the outset today.

Raonic's fierce forehands helped him bring up a break point in the opening game. Murray survived, but two aces from the world number 25 swiftly levelled things up.

Alex Kay Talks Tennis

The first set followed a similar pattern – Murray tested on serve and Raonic holding with ease – until game seven, when a loose drop shot from the Scot resulted in a second break point for the youngster, and this time he capitalised to go 4-3 up.

Raonic comfortably held again to move within a game of the set and then, after Murray had dug out the hold with the help of an ace, the Canadian brought up three set points with his ninth ace and duly took the first with a forehand winner.

Having managed only four points on the Raonic serve in the first set, Murray looked brighter at the start of the second set, but continued to struggle to make inroads against the serve.

The Scot served out to love in game three himself, though, and then took Raonic to deuce in game four before the Canadian pulled through with another huge serve.

Frustration: Murray grimaces during his defeat

Frustration: Murray grimaces during his defeat

Turfed out: Murray needs to improve his clay game

Turfed out: Murray needs to improve his clay game

A superb cross-court winner edged Murray ahead again and again he then troubled the Raonic serve, but could not force the break.

Just when the second set looked to be following the same format as the first, Raonic too passed up two break-point opportunities in game seven as Murray squeezed 4-3 ahead.

But, after powering through another strong service game, Raonic broke Murray to give himself the chance to serve for the match and claim the biggest scalp of his career.

Murray showed his battling qualities by breaking back, though, before two clinical service games took the match into a tie-break.

However, if the Scot thought nerves were getting to Raonic, he was sadly mistaken.

He cruised into a 5-1 lead and, although Murray engineered a chink of light by taking his two points on serve, there was no way back.

Andy Murray through to Barcelona Open fourth round

Murray makes light work of Giraldo to sail through to Barcelona Open fourth round

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UPDATED:

13:41 GMT, 26 April 2012

Andy Murray eased into the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open with a straight-sets win over unheralded Colombian Santiago Giraldo.

The second seed wrapped up a 6-1, 6-2 victory in just 74 minutes to set up a meeting with Canada's Milos Raonic in the last eight.

Giraldo, ranked 54 in the world, was something of an unknown quantity for Murray with the players having not previously faced each other on the ATP Tour.

Easy: Andy Murray dropped just three games against Santiago Giraldo

Easy: Andy Murray dropped just three games against Santiago Giraldo

The Scot broke his opponent in just
the second game when Giraldo fired a forehand into the net, and then
held off two break points on his own serve to take a 3-0 lead.

Both players held their next service
games, but Murray had the chance to break again in game six and was
gifted a 5-1 advantage thanks to an ambitious forehand from Giraldo.

That left the second seed serving for
the set, and although the Colombian battled to stay in it, he was
unable to prevent Murray wrapping up proceedings in 33 minutes.

Another poor shot from Giraldo handed
a further break to Murray at the start of the second set, but the Scot
lost his concentration in game four and a weak forehand into the net
allowed his opponent to break back.

However, he regained the edge once
more in the next game through another unforced error from Giraldo,
before breaking once more in the seventh after the Colombian could only
find the net with his backhand.

Murray found himself serving for the match and he secured the win when Giraldo's backhand once more let him down.

Andy Murray beats Sergiy Stakhovsky at Barcelona Open

Murray bounces back by cruising past Stakhovsky in Barcelona opener

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UPDATED:

16:09 GMT, 24 April 2012


Hitting back: Andy Murray got over his disappointment in Monte Carlo last week

Hitting back: Andy Murray got over his disappointment in Monte Carlo last week

Andy Murray enjoyed a comfortable passage through his opening match at the Barcelona Open with a straight-sets victory over Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky.

Murray, who is seeded second behind Rafael Nadal, received a bye through the first round and he was a convincing winner in his second-round match as he defeated world No 68 Stakhovsky 6-3 6-2 in one hour and 18 minutes.

The world No 4 will next face either Robin Haase or Santiago Giraldo in the third round in what is his first appearance in the Spanish clay-court tournament in four years.

Murray, who opened his clay campaign by reaching the quarter-finals in Monte Carlo last week before losing to Tomas Berdych, survived a brief scare in the opening game today when he needed to save a break point on his own serve.

However, after that the 24-year-old rarely looked in serious trouble against an opponent he had beaten in each of their previous three meetings.

The key break in the opening set came in the fourth game when Murray earned himself three break points.

The Scot failed to make the most of the first two opportunities as 26-year-old Stakhovsky battled back from 15-40 to deuce, but Murray made no mistake with his third chance to take a 3-1 lead in the set.

Eyes on the prize: Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky returns to Murray in Barcelona

Eyes on the prize: Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky returns to Murray in Barcelona

After the next two games had been comfortably held, Stakhovsky had a chance to break back in the seventh when he edged 40-30 ahead on Murray's serve, but the Ukrainian was again unable to capitalise as Murray recovered to take a 5-2 lead.

Stakhovsky battled hard to take the eighth game to make it 5-3, but Murray wasted little time wrapping up the set as he held the ninth game to love.

Murray then made short work of the second set to seal his spot in the last 16. The Australian Open semi-finalist rattled off four successive points to recover from 40-15 down to break Stakhovsky in game three and take a 2-1 lead, and he then broke again on his opponent's next service game – this time to love – to take a 4-1 advantage.

The next two games went with serve before Stakhovsky briefly threatened to extend the contest when he took a 30-0 lead on Murray's serve in game eight, but the British No 1 bounced back to take the game and seal the match.