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FRENCH OPEN QUARTERFINAL REVIEW: Murray grinds down Gasquet as Serena battles into semis

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Andy Murray is through to the semi-finals of the French Open after the Brit outlasted Richard Gasquet 5-7 7-6 6-0 6-2. The first two sets were very tight as both players displayed high quality tennis but once Murray had taken the second set tie-break, the world number two dominated the contest thereafter to wear Gasquet down and eventually claim victory, to eliminate the last remaining Frenchman from the tournament.

In the opening set, Murray capitalised on a slow start by Gasquet to seize an early break when the Frenchman committed a double fault. With his opponent’s deep court position, Murray was able to successfully use the drop shot effectively as he quickly established a 3-0 lead, leaving the crowd stunned in silence. Gasquet though improved to reduce the deficit, and when Murray served for the set at 5-3, the Frenchman was gifted the break back following an error strewn game from his opponent. As Murray continued to produce uncharacteristic errors, Gasquet was growing in confidence and he levelled the scoreline at 5-5, before claiming another break when his opponent committed a double fault. With the Frenchman now serving for the opener at 6-5 up, a marathon game ensued as both players had opportunities to win the game but eventually it was Gasquet who prevailed, taking the set when Murray netted a backhand.

As the second set unfolded, both players had opportunities to clinch an early break but it was Murray who made the first breakthrough, as his persistence with the drop shot finally paid off to break Gasquet en route to consolidating for a 5-2 lead. However, as Murray was serving for the set, the Frenchman once again fought back to retrieve the break before levelling the scoreline at 5-5. Both players showed incredible resolve under pressure to take the set to a tie-break, but in the tie-break it was Murray who recovered an early deficit before pulling away from the Frenchman, upping the aggression to eventually level the match at one set apiece.

In the third set, the Brit was growing in confidence as he was gaining the upper hand in the extended rallies, and an early break for Murray was sealed when Gasquet netted a drop shot attempt. The combination of Murray’s deep groundstrokes and the Frenchman’s errors saw the Brit ruthlessly take complete control, as his aggressive intent on the backhand side was rewarded with two more breaks of the Gasquet serve to gain an unassailable 5-0 lead. The Frenchman was unable to win a single game, as an unreturnable serve from Murray quickly wrapped up an overall dominant set of tennis from the Brit, to move ahead in the match.

The early stages of the fourth set saw both players hold their opening service games but Murray continued to dictate the points, utilising his heavy shot-making to brutally manoeuvre Gasquet all around the court and the world number two eventually gained the crucial break with a sharp volley at the net. The Frenchman found Murray’s powerful and precise groundstrokes simply too much too handle, as he conceded the double break when the Brit hammered a deep backhand return. Even though Gasquet forced his opponent to serve out the match, Murray was unstoppable and he comfortably closed out the victory to book a semi-final clash against the defending champion Stan Wawrinka, who eliminated Albert Ramos Vinolas in straight sets.

On the other side of the draw, Novak Djokovic also progressed through to the semi-finals with a 6-3 7-5 6-3 win over Tomas Berdych and the Serbian will play Dominic Thiem next, as he beat David Goffin in four sets.

In the women’s quarterfinals, Serena Williams just kept her hopes of retaining the title alive when she rallied from a set and a break down to overcome Yulia Putintseva 5-7 6-4 6-1. The American world number one will meet Kiki Bertens in the last four. Also, Garbine Muguruza secured a straight sets win over Shelby Rogers and she will face Samantha Stosur in the other semi-final, as the Australian edged Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4 7-6.

French Open 2016 Novak Djokovic Serena Williams

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