Murray Ends French Hopes, Battles Into Paris SFs
Andy Murray will play former titlist David Ferrer in the Paris semi-finals
Andy Murray reached his first semi-final at the BNP Paribas Masters on his ninth appearance at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Paris.
Second seed Murray recorded his fourth straight win - and seventh overall - against No. 10 seed Richard Gasquet in a hard-fought 7-6(7), 3-6, 6-3 victory on Friday afternoon. The Scot is now 58-0 this year after winning the first set.
The victory, his 67th of 2015, ensured that Murray has compiled his best match record in a single season. With the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on the horizon at The O2 in London from 15-22 November, Murray is now 67-11 on the year. In 2009, the Scot finished with a 66-11 mark.
Murray started with a bang, breaking Gasquet's serve in the second game and went on to survive an 18-point, 13-minute hold for a 3-0 lead. But Gasquet recovered to 4-4 and went on to lead 5/3 in the tie-break. Murray saved one set point on Gasquet's serve at 5/6 with a backhand winner and closed out the 75-minute opener on his second set point opportunity.
"It was obviously an important shot in the match," said Murray, on the backhand slice winner that saved set point. "I kind of assumed or anticipated that he was going to come into the net. I obviously had to hit it well, had to hit it clean to get it past him and put a little bit of, I don't know, sort of swerve on the ball to bring it back into the court."
Gasquet broke Murray to 15 for a 4-2 lead in the 40-minute second set, closing out on his third set point chance, and maintained the pressure on the second seed early in the decider. Murray broke decisively on his fourth chance in the ninth game, then mixed up his service pace to close out the pair's 10th meeting in two hours and 39 minutes.
I feel like I have been striking the ball well this week," said Murray. "I think the first two matches obviously were extremely good. I think at periods of today's match, I also played extremely well. At the beginning of the second set... I feel like my level dropped. You really want to make sure your level stays high after winning a set like that."
Murray joined Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the only players to reach the semi-finals (or better) at all nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments.
Gasquet, who is currently No. 9 in the Emirates ATP Race To London, said, "Even if you are winning, as I did in the third set, I knew he [would] never miss a return. [He was] always putting the ball in the court, playing very fast from the baseline, serving well. He's very clever on the court. Fighting so much."