Monte Carlo – round 3rd + quarterfinals
Andy Murray was in a very defensive mood throughout his match against Tomas Berdych. This tactics somehow worked out in the 1st set due to Berdych’s inability to get the most important points (he wasted all seven break points, including 4 set points at 6:5*). The Czech kept the focus though, the conditions quickened up and Berdych’s game began to labor better. He was aggressive all the time spreading forehand winners in all corners of the court, and finishing the points at the net with good efficiency. Murray lost his service game at 1-all in the final set, missing a relatively easy overhead on break point. He broke his racquet immediately and didn’t regroup to the end. Berdych won 6-7(4) 6-2 6-3 in 2 hours 48 minutes, improving his H2H against the Brit to 4-2 (three wins in France). “He played better,” conceded Murray. “I mean, I hung in, in the first set […] At the start of the second set it was where he obviously started playing better and my level dropped clearly, as the result, the score line, suggests.” In the second quarterfinal, Robin Haase acted like he knew he didn’t deserve to be there. I had an impression Novak Djokovic was playing at barely 60% of his abilities, but it was enough to secure the seminal berth with a 6-4 6-2 victory, despite losing the serve four times!
The second semifinal will be consisted of Rafael Nadal and Gilles Simon . Both players won their matches after the same scoreline: 7-5 6-4. Nadal extended his overwhelming H2H with Stanislas Wawrinka to 8-0 (17-0 in sets) with the victory which lasted 1 hour 47 minutes. As usual in their meetings, Wawrinka  produced solid tennis, made several entertaining winners, but wasn’t consistent enough to finally take a set off Nadal. Simon his all-French affair with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga began with a 3:0 lead after two breaks of serve. They were involved in a 39-stroke rally in the 4th game, Tsonga admittedly lost the point but it awoke him. He erased both breaks, silly errors cost him the set though. Simon signalized lethargy, he received some pills, but the decider seemed inevitable as he found himself at *1:4 down in the 2nd set. Tsonga couldn’t keep the momentum, made a bunch of unforced errors and lost five straight games.
There’s something wrong with Monte Carlo’s Centre Court this year… Two days after Juan Monaco had sprained his right ankle, Julien Benneteau sprained his right ankle too, stumbling almost in the same place on the court 🙁 In Benneteau’s case it’s even a worse occurrence, actually a nightmare because while falling he damaged his right wrist which caused a broken elbow (!) as it was revealed when Benneteau underwent an examination at the doctor. The awful injury happened during his competitive, long (seventy minutes) 1st set against Andy Murray at 5-all (0/15). After the treatment the Frenchman came back on court only to have hopelessly played two points like Monaco…
Monaco and Benneteau finished their matches in tears as well as Novak Djokovic, but the Serb in regard of different circumstances. Djokovic before his match with Alexandr Dolgopolov received a massage that his grandfather died. Obviously it affected the mind of No. 1 in the world. Djokovic’s thoughts weren’t on court in the 1st set, but as a role model of professionalism he regained his composure in the 2nd set and perhaps helped him the rain break at the beginning of the 3rd set. Djokovic won the last three games winning by a 2-6 6-1 6-4 margin. He now faces Robin Haase , for whom quarterfinal in a ‘1000’ tournament is arguably the best career-result. And it happens under completely unexpected circumstances, the Dutchman reached a new low last week being ousted in Casablanca by a 752nd ranked-player in the world (Lamine Ouahab), who had never won an ATP match before! Two days ago he would have been badly beaten by Monaco, but the Argentine suffered an injury. Haase probably felt he was going to lose in the first round, suddenly got a chance to play further and took an advantage of it beating in straight sets two players – more or less – of his caliber: Fabio Fognini and Thomaz Bellucci. The Brazilian won against Haase just five games, it’s the same amount he dropped a day before in his sensational win over Ferrer. A crucial game during a 6-2 6-3 victory came at *2:0 for Haase in the 2nd set when he fought off three break points taking the game in nine deuces.
Bellucci’s namesake, Berdych saved a mini-match point at 4:4 in the 3st set against Kei Nishikori surviving a 2-6 6-2 6-4 scare. The Czech has won this year more tight sets than any other player on the tour except Isner. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrated his 27th birthday in the second round against Kohlschreiber, in the following match the best French player overcame a double set point in the 1st set tie-break to dismiss a former finalist Fernando Verdasco 7-6(7) 6-2. “I’m always hungry for victories,” said Tsonga. “I always go on the court wanting to win. Sometimes people are shocked when I say, ‘If I come to this tournament, it’s because I want to try to go to the end of the tournament.’ But I think it’s important.”
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