In the last match of a crazy Wednesday at the French Open, Andy Murray prevailed in a nick of time over Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 1-6, 6-0 in a match that finished on the very edge of suspension (and disbelief).
After a late start due to rain which pushed the women’s quarters back almost three hours, Murray jumped on Monfils racing ahead by two sets. The Frenchman appeared weary and listless, but mid-way through the third his energy returned and suddenly he began to force the issue.
Monfils fended off Murray’s attempt to close it out by taking third and rolling in the fourth. At the time there was about 20 minutes of light left, but the referee clarified to and agreeing Murray that play would continue for another 20 minutes despite the high probability these two backboards wouldn’t finish. But somehow they did!
With Monfils seemingly in control and the Chatrier crowd fully behind him, a funny thing happened. He lost control. Inexplicably Monfils couldn’t muster any opposition to the Scot dropping the final set meekly in only 24 minutes just as the sun was setting and the six game limit had been reached.
“It was a hard match,” said Murray. “Conditions changed quite a lot during it. It was extremely windy in the beginning, and then it was pretty calm at the end and very slow. It was obviously very cold at the end of the match.
“He really raised his game in the third set. I thought I played a pretty good third set. Fourth set wasn’t my best, but it was a fun match.”
Monfils won just 7 points in the final set, only 4 of which came on his serve. And he admitted that he wanted to finish the match as well because he felt Murray wasn’t as fit as he was. But he rushed it in the end and that cost him.
“I think I played a good first game,” Monfils said. “Then everything happened very fast. I missed a few shots, and I don’t know. I don’t really know what happened. It was very fast. You know, very fast. I start to miss a lot of balls. I felt not bad, so it was a very strange feeling. Very strange.”
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