Friday, 17 January 2014

Andy wins but will need better

Andy Murray, having had a useful warm up at Melbourne Park which doubles as his first round match against Go Soeda, now chose France as his nation to offend by thrashing one of its own at the sport of tennis.  Thank God for Tsonga or I would be rather saddened by witnessing a regular exit of French players this year, and I didn't feel that Vincent Millot was going to advance any further than his terribly creditable second round.

Currently ranked 267, his effort in winning through to the main draw via Qualifying then registering a first round victory was a good achievement, but to expect a win over the reigning runner up was fanciful.

And so it proved.  Millot hits the ball hard off both wings but as the top players show, and Murray soon repeated, there are one or two other aspects to tennis than brute power.  Andy strode through the obvious potential of the French player to break his first serving effort and then his second to build a 3-0 lead.

Yes, not at full stretch by any stretch of the imagination, but doing sufficiently well to handle anything of use dished up from France this particular evening.
Until the fourth game that was.  With the cooperation of two double faults, Vincent managed to scramble enough points together to put a down payment on a break of the Scottish serve and only trail by two games.
However, Andy had enough in hand to buy back the break immediately and games were 4-1 Scotland's way, or as England journalists would call "it in Britain's favour".

The set went to Andy 6-2, despite playing very wasteful tennis, which if served up to a top ranked player would be given it's just desserts, and Andy would be exiting.  He had the second round luxury, and time in this match to sort a few problems out.

He didn't sort them out in the second set, yet still managed to hold his serve throughout - his first serve percentage was poor but Millot was unable to put together a string of points which would threaten the Scottish serve.  Murray secured two breaks of his own, which hurt Vincent, so he called for the trainer to help him out.  Murray led 6-2 6-2 and hadn't been called on to excite anyone.

In the third set, Vincent finally figured out that his opponent had done nothing special, and that he could actually be a part of the match if he focused better.
So in addition to the hard hitting Millot played with more assurance and held his opening serve, and subsequent two serves with relative ease.  In between times he broke the Murray serve not once but twice, with valuable assistance from Andy.

Vincent led 5-1 and we were looking at a fourth set.  Then the reality became too much for the French player and he lost all perspective in a sad conclusion to the match.  Andy won the last six games to win the match 6-2 6-2 7-5, although he was presented with the last set, and can take little from the match in terms of what might threaten the top guns in the second week.

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