Murray sets up Ancic clash
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:18
The British number one took the first set on a tie-break but Gicquel, ranked 55 in the world, levelled impressively only to succumb to a thigh injury with the score at 7-6 (7/2) 4-6 3-0.
Murray was decidedly out of sorts in his narrow victory over Andreas Seppi on Thursday but from the first rally today his timing was much improved.
Frenchman Gicquel adopted an aggressive strategy and was having some success coming to the net, taking Murray to deuce in the ninth game, but the Scot passed the test with flying colours.
The tie-break duly arrived after a largely uneventful first set and it was Murray, having had little success on the Gicquel serve thus far, who took the first mini-break when a volley from the Frenchman drifted just long.
The Scot cemented the break to move into a 4-1 lead and that swiftly became 5-1 before Murray wrapped up the tie-break 7-2.
Gicquel shrugged off that disappointment by rediscovering his impressive play at the start of the second set and forced a break point in Murray’s opening service game. The British number one levelled at 1-1 and then finally created an opening on the Gicquel serve with a pinpoint return taking him to 15-40.
But a drop shot into the net from Murray allowed Gicquel to get back on terms and he saved two further break points before moving into a 2-1 lead.
Gicquel complained of a thigh problem after the seventh game and had it strapped up by the trainer. It did not seem to affect him unduly, though, and more incisive attacking brought up a set point on the Murray serve at 4-5 and it was the Scot who cracked first, mis-hitting a cross-court forehand well wide.
Having looked in control, Murray suddenly found himself in a decider but he took an immediate lead by finally breaking the Gicquel serve. The Frenchman’s movement was definitely being affected by his injury now and after Murray had broken again Gicquel decided he could no longer carry on.