Murray’s best clay court wins
Originally published on 18/05/16 00:00
2014 French Open (Quarter-Final)
bt Gael Monfils 6-4 6-1 4-6 1-6 6-0
This Murray five-setter went against the grain in comparison to his other final set deciders in Paris, as the Scot, for once, took the opening sets without much trouble. With the Paris light fading fast over Philippe Chatrier, Monfils levelled the match to leave Murray staring another layover in the face. But, days after a two-day epic with Philipp Kohlschreiber (see below), the Scot raced through the fifth set in the day’s dying embers to book his place in another Roland Garros semi-final.
2008 French Open (First Round)
bt Jonathan Eysseric 6-2 1-6 4-6 6-0 6-2
Following a first round defeat in 2006 and a no-show due to injury in 2007, 10th seed Murray was still seeking his first Roland Garros win when he took on French junior Jonathan Eysseric in 2008. A comfortable first set was followed by a frustrating second and third as the 18-year-old fed off an encouraging home crowd on Suzanne Lenglen. Murray, an elderly 21-year-old in comparison, re-grouped in the fourth and fifth, and let out a huge roar of delight when the home favourite poked a volley long on match point.
2010 French Open (First Round)
bt Richard Gasquet 4-6 6-7(5) 6-4 6-2 6-1
Fourth seed Murray was handed probably the toughest draw to kick off his 2010 Paris campaign, as a resurgent Gasquet was on his way back up the rankings. The Frenchman came out firing and deservedly took a two-set lead. But after having saved a break point at the start of the third, the Scot turned the match on its head and cruised through the final two sets. On weathering the Frenchman’s opening onslaught, Murray said: "It's difficult but you just need to chase everything down and believe in yourself."
2011 French Open (Fourth Round)
bt Viktor Troicki 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-2 7-5
One of many Murray contests that have needed two days to be settled, Troicki had looked on course for a quarter-final berth after wearing Murray down to take the first two sets, only for the world No.4 to level the tie up before play was halted for the day. Resuming the next morning in what was effectively a one-set shootout, the Serb raced into a 5-2 lead, only to see Murray fight back again to win five consecutive games and deny Troicki one of the biggest wins of his career.
2014 French Open (Third Round)
bt Kohlschreiber 3-6 6-3 6-3 4-6 12-10
The third match in this list played out over two days, and the first of two against Kohlschreiber, Murray advanced to the fourth round of Roland Garros in 2014 after winning an epic 22-game final set. The win meant Murray had won seven of his last eight fifth set deciders, this one clinched with a fierce backhand return after over four hours of play on his second match point. Despite needing treatment on a cramping leg the night before, Murray reached the fourth round following without doubt his most gruelling Paris victory to date.
2015 Munich Open (Final)
bt Kohlschreiber 7-6(4) 5-7 7-6(4)
Murray ended a 39-year drought for Brits on clay by claiming his first title on the surface in a match completed a day late due to rain. Heavy conditions made it hard for either man to get through the court but a series of precise, clever hitting helped the British No.1 edge the opening set, only for the German to take the second with a pin-point backhand down the line. An even deciding set was settled on a tiebreak, which saw Murray recover from a mini-break down to take the match after just over three hours.
2015 Madrid Masters (Final)
bt Nadal 6-3 6-2
Playing in just his second tournament since getting married, Murray finally ended his run of being the bridesmaid against Nadal, beating the Spaniard on clay for the first time in his own backyard, claiming his first clay-court Masters title for the loss of just five games. The Spaniard had reached the final without dropping a set but found Murray, who had only won his first tour title on the red dirt a week earlier in Munich, in imperious form from the start. "It's one of the hardest things in tennis to try and win against Rafa on clay, so I'm glad I've managed to do it,” said Murray afterwards.
2015 Davis Cup Final (Belgium)
bt Goffin 6-3 7-5 6-3
Despite not being a regular Tour title, Murray’s victory in Ghent last November is unquestionably his biggest on clay in his career so far. Having supposedly chosen the surface to negate Britain’s best, Goffin and Belgium had no answer as Murray calmly silenced the raucous home crowd with a scintillating display of superb clay court tennis combining powerful groundstrokes and delicate drop shots. No one in Great Britain will ever forget that lob on match point in a hurry, either.