Friday, 21 April 2017

Murray departs Monte Carlo

The third round at Monte Carlo delivered the first major upsets and they included world number one Andy Murray and third seed Stan Wawrinka.

Murray, ever the front runner, lost that tag in this match.  He wasted two prime positions, firstly a one set lead over 15th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas, then a 4-0 advantage in the decider.
It was the first meeting between the two, and the Spaniard pushed Andy's year to date record to 13/4, not particularly pleasing for the Scot.

Ramos-Vinolas will play Marin Cilic in one of the quarter finals, after Cilic disposed of Tomas Berdych in straight sets.  Berdych took the Croatian to a second set tie break but failed to win a point once there.

The other surprise was the Wawrinka loss.  Maybe not too much of a shock considering he came to Monte Carlo with a 2017 record of 14 wins and 5 losses.  16th seeded Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas wasn't fazed by his challenge, and dismissed the Swiss in two sets.  Despite only posting 8 wins in 2017 prior to this tournament, amongst those victories Cuevas had captured the Brasil Open in March, defeating Murray's conqueror Ramos-Vinolas in the final.

Cuevas earned the right to play 11th seed Lucas Pouille in another of the quarter finals.  Pouille only needed three games before fellow French player Adrian Mannarino retired through injury.

Rafa Nadal was ruthless in thrashing Germany's Sasha Zverev at the cost of two games and unseeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman will be at the Spaniard's mercy in their quarter final.  Schwartzman easily accounted for another German, Jan-Lennard Struff.

The final quarter final is possibly the best on paper.  Novak Djokovic devised another escape to defeat Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, down break points at 4-4 in a deciding third set, then emerging from the hole to win three of the last four games.

David Goffin repeated his Australian Open defeat of Dominic Thiem, but it required a three set thriller to do so.
The first set tie break was pivotal, and even though Thiem struck back to level at a set apiece, Goffin steadied with a classy third set display, strong on serve, and returning just about everything.

Djokovic has won both his matches without displaying much of his bag of tricks, and he will no doubt draw on more of his brilliance in order to match a confident Goffin.
Djokovic leads 5-0 head to head.

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