Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Andy in semi without fanfare

Andy Murray apparently expressed his concern to Tournament Director Craig Tiley that he had not played a night match whereas 2nd seed Roger Federer had played all but one of his under lights on Rod Laver Arena.

Well the ramifications of that are just coming to the surface.  Because of the alleged expression of concern, Craig informed Andy that scheduling decisions are actually made by his boss, tennis supremo R.Federer, and that the issue should be taken up with him.

Taken aback Andy approached Roger who accomodated him by granting him a special venue for his quarter final with surprise opponent Jeremy Chardy from France.

Armed with Cabcharge vouchers and accompanied by a spare ball boy, the players journeyed out to Oak Park where the second court was free for 2 hours.  The ball boy would be happy to fill the central umpire role and call the lines provided the players could pick up the balls whenever the server needed them.

Is there no end to Roger's thoughtfulness?

Until now Andy had not lost a set, and he had thrashed the 14th seed Gilles Simon, another from France, in the previous round.  Chardy had provided the Open with a huge upset, dumping 6th seed Juan Martin Del Potro in a 5 set marathon round 3 match before dealing with 21st seed Italian Andreas Seppi in the round of sixteen.

Set 1 began ominously for Chardy as he served a double fault on the first point. He followed this gem with a forehand failure and later another double fault set up a break point which was converted without any assistance from Murray who just witnessed the disaster.

In the third game Murray fired three successive forehand winners to move from 30-15 down on Chardy's serve to break the French player again and lead 3-0.

A win for Murray would at last see him on Rod Laver Arena at night (first time in 12 months) and he had started in the best way towards achieving that goal.  More forehand success for the Scot and some good serving from Chardy coloured the next couple of games and then Andy became careless, losing his serve in game 6 on the back of poor backhands, to now only lead 4-2.

The single break advantage proved enough, holding firm until the end of the set which was awarded to Andy Murray 6-4.  The Oak Park court was certainly generating some pace, and was a step up in class from the ones on which he had practised back home in Scotland.

Chardy served first in the second set and at 1-1 he made several unforced errors to lose that serve and trail 1-2.  Murray meantime was spreading all his winners across the board in a concerted effort to squash any comeback attempt from Chardy.  Another break in the fifth game plus a Chardy double fault on set point in the seventh game gave the 2 set lead to Murray 6-4 6-1.

Andy's forehand generated several stylish winners in the third set and the third seed ripped into the too often inadequate serve of Chardy.  The second and sixth games were service games that were dropped and Murray forced Chardy into error in the eighth game to give up yet another break of serve and the match 6-4 6-1 6-2.

Andy Murray had won through to another semi final and if he could only find his way back from Oak Park he may even have the chance to participate in it.

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