Murray outmuscled by Gonzalez
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:32
Murray, the third seed, could not sustain the excellent form he had been showing at this year’s Roland Garros as the mercurial Chilean powered to a 6-3 3-6 6-0 6-4 victory on Philippe Chatrier court.
The British number one was looking to repeat Tim Henman’s 2004 exploits and make the semi-finals here for the first time, but the enigmatic Gonzalez had one of his better days, recovering from a dip in the second set to overpower a sometimes ragged Murray through sheer brute force on a sun-kissed Philippe Chatrier court.
Murray knows all about Gonzalez’s booming forehand – he has been a practice partner for the Chilean this tournament – and he was soon chasing after it, saving four break points in his first service game.
Gonzalez, the boys’ singles champion here in 1998, saved one himself in game five and it went with serve until the eighth.
One of Gonzalez’s many inside-out, cross-court forehand winners set up the break and when Murray went short with an approach shot, the 28-year-old sent over a whipped forehand that the Briton could not return.
Gonzalez needed four attempts to take the set, which he did with a whipped forehand, one of 16 winners in the opener.
Murray would have been praying Gonzalez could not keep up that intensity and that level. He managed to early on, however, unleashing some mighty forehands in game four of the second set after sending Murray wide with his serve.
But Murray broke in the sixth game, needing four bites at the cherry after going 40-0 up, and served out the set.
He did not make a single unforced error in the second set and his consistency was beginning to stifle the big-hitting Chilean, whose error count was creeping up. That was the first set Gonzalez had dropped in the tournament and he responded superbly.