Richard Gasquet Murray shines to reach last eight

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 Richard Gasquet could not have followed his game plan more closely and yet it was still not enough to beat Andy Murray. Scotland’s finest reached the quarter-finals for the fourth year running by beating France’s most talented player 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-2. These two are old adversaries at major tournaments and this was their third Grand Slam face-off.

In the previous two, Gasquet had been two sets and a break of serve to the good and yet still managed to lose. As a result, he had come up with a cunning plan: “I always won the first two sets here and in Roland Garros, so I hope not to win the first two sets this time,” he had announced on Friday. Well, he did that all right but trying to beat the world No.4, a local hero with his eyes fixed firmly on the latter stages of the tournament, from two sets down is an uphill struggle.

On Manic Monday, it was like trying to climb Everest in flip flops. When they met here in 2008 Gasquet had served for his place in the quarter-finals but Murray turned the match on its head with one magnificent, running backhand. That shot not only crushed Gasquet’s confidence, it also fanned the flames of the crowd’s love affair with Murray.

As he roared himself on, they roared with him – and they have been roaring ever since. But this time around, Murray did not need the help of the 15,000 on Centre Court – a capacity crowd that included the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the Royal Box – and he never allowed the Frenchman to cause him any problems. Gasquet’s talents are a delight to watch. He has touch and he has power and he has a backhand that most of the guys in the locker room would pay serious folding money for. But what he has never had, and could not buy for all the world, is the ability to cope with pressure.

Making decisions in the heat of battle has never been his strong suit and as Murray flexed his muscles and played better and harder, so Gasquet began to crumble. Returning Murray’s second serve from Row G of the stands was never going to work and given that the Scot’s second delivery is patted down at a relatively gentle 80-something miles per hour, it did seem just plain daft. For the first 55 minutes, there was barely a gnat’s whisker between them. Each man committed just three unforced errors in the first set while break points were as rare as hen’s teeth (just one in that set). But then it came to the tiebreak and it was time for someone to step up and take charge. That man was Murray.

As they traded backhands, Dunblane’s most famous son appeared to throw down a challenge. “All right, pal,” he seemed to say, “call that a backhand? Take a look at this!”. And as he unleashed a walloping winner, so Gasquet deflated. Two points later and the first set belonged to Scotland and Gasquet was running out of steam.

Monday 20 June Reigning Men’s Singles Champion opens play on Centre Court 
First round matches – Men’s and Ladies’ Singles
Tuesday 21 June Reigning Ladies’ Singles Champion opens play on Centre Court First round matches – Men’s and Ladies’ Singles
Wednesday 22 June Second round matches – Men’s and Ladies’ Singles 
First round matches – Men’s and Ladies’ Doubles
Thursday 23 June Second round matches – Men’s and Ladies’ Singles 
First round matches – Mixed Doubles
Friday 24 June Third round matches – Men’s and Ladies’ Singles 
Second round matches – Men’s and Ladies’ Doubles 
First round matches – Mixed Doubles
Saturday 25 June Third round matches – Men’s and Ladies’ Singles 
Second round matches – Men’s and Ladies’ Doubles 
First round matches – Mixed Doubles 
Boys’ and Girls’ Championships begin 
Men’s and Ladies’ over 35’s & over 45’s Championships begin
Monday 27 June Fourth round matches – Men’s and Ladies’ Singles 
Third round matches – Men’s and Ladies’ Doubles 
Second round matches – Mixed Doubles
Tuesday 28 June Quarter-Finals – Ladies’ Singles 
Fourth round matches – Men’s Singles 
Third round matches – Men’s and Ladies’ Doubles 
Third round matches – Mixed Doubles
Wednesday 29 June Quarter-Finals – Men’s Singles 
Quarter-Finals – Men’s and Ladies’ Doubles 
Third round matches – Mixed Doubles
Thursday 30 June Semi-Finals – Ladies’ Singles 
Semi-Finals – Men’s and Ladies’ Doubles 
Quarter-Finals – Mixed Doubles

Friday 1 July

Semi-Finals – Men’s Singles 
Semi-Finals – Men’s and Ladies’ Doubles 
Quarter-Finals – Mixed Doubles
Saturday 2 July Final – Ladies’ Singles 
Final – Men’s Doubles 
Final – Mixed Doubles
Sunday 3 July Final – Men’s Singles 
Final – Ladies’ Doubles


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