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RG Day Two: Mr Wembley, It Happened Again

Posted by gauloises1 on May 24, 2010

Andy Murray d. Richard Gasquet 46 67(5) 64 62 61

I don’t have any idea how to explain this one. I watched (with half an eye, I was at work) as Murray was comprehensively outplayed for two sets, left in a huff after Gasquet got the early break in the third, spent the long journey home composing bitter odes to British failure … only to get home and realise that Murray had, somehow, won. Which was rather confusing. On the other hand, I only saw the last two and a half sets of their Wimbledon 2008 match, so I’ve now seen one whole Gasquet-Murray five-setter.

From the comments I’ve seen, I rather gather that fatigue and that lingering leg injury set in for Gasquet during the latter stages and he simply didn’t have enough in the crucial final stages. (What price a Tuesday start now, FFT?). There’s no denying that the scheduling was extremely harsh on Gasquet, or that he was the better player on the day – from what I saw, Murray was playing perfectly well, but Gasquet had an answer (usually a backhand winner) for everything Murray could challenge him with; an apposite reminder that Gasquet on his day is better than almost anyone else in the world. But leaving aside the particular circumstances of the title in Nice and the injury … why can’t Gasquet close out a five-set match? (Original question.) I don’t know if it’s just that I find his losses over the past couple of years more memorable than they deserve, but these two losses to Murray, and his last two Australian Open defeats (five sets to Gonzo, five sets to Youzhny) seem to encapsulate this stage of his career. Is it insufficient physical conditioning, lack of the killer instinct, or simply bad luck? Am I kicking him when he’s down by even asking the question? Well, it doesn’t really matter today, and Tignor sees hope for the future. Sort of.

Anyway, I’m really glad Murray came through. A lot of people throw around this concept of ‘deserve’, and it’s a tempting one, but there’s no cosmic justice in tennis. Murray may not have been the better player, but he’s the one going through to the next round and he must have done something right, even if it was only hanging in there until the job was done.

End soliloquy. Let’s have a picspam.


A wiser, sadder man.

Well, a more tired man, anyway.

4 Responses to “RG Day Two: Mr Wembley, It Happened Again”

  1. AmyLu said

    I was able to watch until the beginning of the fifth set, and at that point, the match was a foregone conclusion (I actually felt like it was a foregone conclusion once Murray won the third set, to be honest). Gasquet physically seemed to have nothing left, and I really don’t think an additional day’s rest would have made one iota of difference.

    I feel like Gasquet has issues closing out matches, regardless of if they are three or five sets and I honestly think at times the issues are physical and other times mental — you’ve mentioned the classic five-setters. In terms of three-setters, I remember his match against Rafa in Canada (completely blanking on the year) where he won the first in a ridiculously well-played, drawn out first set that went to a tiebreak and lasted over an hour…and then was completely steamrolled in the next two sets. In that match the issue seemed to be mostly physical. He also should have won against Verdasco in two sets in the Nice final, but Verdasco, was Verdasco for lack of a better word, so he somehow ended up prevailing in that third set (and while I knew he got medical timeouts in the third, I think the issues in the second set that he lost were mostly mental). It’s a shame because when he’s playing well, like he was in the first two sets today, his tennis is spell-binding and just awesome to watch, for lack of a better word. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to believe that he’ll ever put it together, but I hope I’m wrong.

  2. irefusetotellyou said

    Hear, hear, to all of the above.

    Also the penultimate picture is HILARIOUS and I will henceforth love and treasure it forever.

  3. harini said

    As I have whined on Twitter about this match, I will say no more except that Murray definitely stepped up his game the last three sets and Richard gave up. It was sad to watch and I dearly wish I had quit watching after the second set. My sixth sense told me to leave but I didn’t and I had to see Gasquet lose a tough five-setter again.

    Oh well. He can rest up for a bit now.

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