Andy Murray survived a stern test from Richard Gasquet in their quarterfinal matchup at the BNP Paribas Masters Paris. Murray outlasted the final Frenchman in the draw to win 7-6(7), 3-6, 6-3 to book a spot into the semifinals in Paris-Bercy, his first ever at the event.
Murray Strikes First Before Gasquet Forces Tiebreak
It didn’t take long for the world number three to move in front with a break at love in the second game of the match. He was put to the test though while trying to consolidate as he gutted out a 17 point game, saving three break points in the process. The French number one finally got on the board with a hold in the fourth game.
Gasquet was tested once again in the sixth game, saving a break point in another marathon game, this time it was an 11 point game. The Frenchman finally was able to get the set back on serve with a break at love in the seventh game and consolidated it for 4-all. Both players were serving poorly in this set. Both players remained solid on serve as they were set to play a tiebreak.
The two-time Grand Slam champion took the mini-break lead early in the tiebreak and extended his lead to 3-1 after pulling the trigger for a forehand winner when he had Gasquet on the defensive in a forehand-to-forehand rally. The world number nine was first to set point leading 6-5 and looked to have it thanks to a forehand that had painted the corner, but Murray used his speed to get to it as he hit a slice which clipped the line leaving Gasquet stunned. The Brit closed the set 8-6 when Gasquet’s backhand return off the overhead clipped the tape and stayed.
Despite each man only giving up one service break, the service was still poor. At one point, both men had their first serve percentages below 50 percent which speaks volumes about how well they were doing to win second serve points.
Brilliant Gasquet Forces Final Set
It was pure brilliance from both players to start the set with their arsenal of shots. We saw everything from lobs, drop shots, to angled volley winners. Gasquet would give himself a crucial 0-30 lead up 3-2 thanks to a delicate volley winner hit behind the Brit which was set up with a huge forehand. He broke for a 4-2 lead when the world number two sailed a forehand long.
After holding at love, to extend his lead to 5-2, Gasquet was at it again. He took his backhand and blasted it down the line on a return to get it to deuce in the eighth game as he was threatening to break once again. Murray would hold though, and all the Frenchman needed was to serve it out, and that he did, closing out the set 6-3 with an ace.
Murray Comes Back From A Break Down To Win
Both men looked a bit weary to open the third set after two back-to-back physical sets. In the second game, the Frenchman ended up on the court stretching to hit a volley. He nearly won the point as Murray’s following shot sat up, but he framed it. Gasquet would break the Brit at 1-all with a forehand winner up 15-40. That break lead was short lived though thanks to a Murray return that forced the Frenchman to hit a wayward backhand.
The world number two was threatening again up 4-3, 0-30, but the Frenchman would not go down without a fight as he provided some stellar defense which led up to a half-volley backhand flick winner. The momentum from that point couldn’t carry the world number nine to the finish line in that game as he was broken to give Murray a 5-3 lead. A tired looking Gasquet netted a forehand on the first match point for Murray as the Brit took it in a long, hard-fought match. Murray will now face David Ferrer in the semifinals after the Spaniard defeated John Isner.