MATCH OF THE DAY - GASQUET-MURRAY
In an interview to the French paper "L'Equipe" the Argentine Gabriel Markus, Gasquet's coach, said Richard has the means to go far: "Murray at the first round is hard, but not unplayable. Richard has to stay focused, now he has enough tennis to go through to the second week".
The match proved he was almost right. This time the Scotster didn't came back as in the remarkable 2008 Wimbledon fourth round. It's time he decided to pose an end to the double-coach experiment. Corretja added only an unnatural ultra-defensive attitude who reduced the impact of his un-reflected game and genuine strokes. The final hybrid gave life to a puzzle fatally missing his last piece. Murray is now an undefined player who abandoned an old road for an unknown travel that took him self-confidence without adding significant results.
For three hours Gasquet dominated the rallies but finally he cracked from the physical point of view and Murray leapfrogged him to sign a remarkable comeback reminding the other upsetting victory in 2007 Wimbledon fourth round when he won despite being down two sets to love.
1st set: 6-4 Gasquet - The Frenchman, more consistent from the backhand side, pushed from the early stages and in the third game had the first two break points: the first went begging when he mis-hit a drop (a right choice 'cause Murray was well behind the baseline), then Murray saved the second with an ace. The Scotster, who held that game, had to wait the third game to hold without being forced to deuce. Gasquet showed all his weapons and variety of shots and broke to 6-4 after 50 minutes. Both had not-exalting first serves percentage: Murray hit 17 winners and 12 errors, Gasquet registered a more positive record (16-7). Here's the key.
2nd set: 7-6 Gasquet - Both held soon, Murray to love for the first time to 1-1. But soon after the Briton had to save another break point, the fourth, before having one on his own. Gasquet, however, saved it with a serve&down-the-line forehand combo. Both continued to be nervous and inconsistent on serve: Murray's second double handed Gasquet his 6th break point but a down-the line forehand acceleration erased it. In a festival of lifted groundstrokes and sooth volleys, the two arrived to a predictable tiebtreak. It was a cat-and-mouse like stuff. Gasquet went 2-0 up, Murray came back to 2-2 but slashed a pair of errors to give Gasquet the lead to 5-3 before coming back again to 5 all. But in the end Murray mis-hit a forehand and Gasquet imposed himself 7 points to 5 with 30 winners against Murray's 17.
3rd set: 6-4 Murray - With a pair of hold exchanges, Murray drowned 15-40 in the fifth game. A perfect drop led him save the first break point, but Gasquet transformed the second chance neutralising another cross-court stroke. Back to the wall, Murray went out 0-40 in the very next game: Gasquet served well, then counter-footed the French but failed to hit the last forehand. Murray broke and went leading 3-4 after another error from the tired Gasquet. In the eight game the French, lacking a bit of lucidity, saved two break points (with a counter-footing backhand and a solid first delivery), but a double fault sent Murray serve for the set at 5-3. The nerve abandoned Murray, pushed 30-40 down and forced to lost serve. But Gasquet trembled the same, and a double fault gifted the Brit a set point, faced with determination and saved thanks to a powerful smash. But at the second chance Murray broke Gasquet for the third time in a row and pushed the defeat a bit further.
4th set: 6-2 Murray - Murray didn't play better, but Gasquet went physically down and the Scot dashed by leaps and bounds towards the decider. The Scot broke the French for the fourth time out of the last 5 service games to 3-1. Both, after more than 3 hours and a half, recurred more to drop shots that became more and more lethal. But the French gave off, almost stopping to run behind the ball. After he failed to hit the last one of the set, doctor Montalvan entered on court for the second time. Gasquet has lost 8 of his last 9 matches in five sets
5th set: 6-2 Murray - After 4 hours and 4 minutes Murray closed holding to love. Gasquet confirmed nobody can be good prophet in his home country: in seven participations at the Roland Garros he has never passed trough to the fourth round. Murray has faced for the third time a French opponent in the first round at the French Open: he lost to Monfils in 2006 and won to Eysseric nexy year before battling against Gasquet.
A routine debut - Roger Federer enters into his first Roland Garros as defending champion with a routinary first round victory over the Aussie Peter Luczak. Dominant on serve (he conquered 12 points out of 12 in his first four service games, losing just two of them in the whole first set), Federer waited for a set before impressing the key acceleration. The Swiss broke in the tenth game, closing the set thanks to a bleeding double by his opponent. From then on he left just three games to Luczak. In his 64 61 62 success, he remained understandably relaxed, often recurred to drop shots and showed deeper backhands than usual. Luczak, as many players did, tried to attack the Swiss' backhand to better protect the deuce side, but his game this time was far-from effective and the world number one sealed the match with a crosscourt backhand winner hit running inward.
Ok Novak - Novak Djokovic encountered just a bit more difficulties against the acquired Kazakh Evgeny Korolev. On the Suzanne Lenglen the Serb dashed 6-1 in the first and seemed highly projected towards an easy victory when he overcame the short-lived resistance by Ana Kournikova's cousin breaking to 2-1. But the Kazakh fought back immediately and went leading 5-3 creaming a cross court winner to gain a break point and benefitting from a backhand wide to convert it before taking the second set 6-3. But just when a player looked in control, the other seemed to strike back. The Djoker broke twice in a row in the third set (6-1) and close 6-3 the fourth when Korolev, down 3-5 0-40 on his serve, overhit a forehand.
Surprises of the day - The German Julien Reister took just three set to book a place in the second round overpowering Feliciano Lopez 61 75 62. Taylor Dent gave life to one of the blockbuster matches of the day: a remarkable contrast of styles against Nicolas Lapentti. Starting as an underdog, the American delighted the crowd with over 40 winners, chopped returns, volleys and passing shots winning his first match at the French Open in career and gaining the right to play in one of the main courts against last year's finalist Robin Soderling. Dent won the first set 6-3 and in the second continued to be highly dominant on serve. Lapentti saved three break points while the American, out of nowhere, lost his serve at 5-3 to 15: the Ecuadorian converted the first break point of the match. But a poisonous backspin backhand return earn him the second set 6-4. He took a break of advantage also in the third, but didn't succeed in capitalizing it. Lapentti forced him to a tiebreaker and Dent perfectly led it and won it 7 points to 3 finishing with one of his trademark winning returns.