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Page last updated at 22:20 GMT, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Murray v Blake as it happened



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By Mark Ashenden

0054: So that's it folks. Time for bed tennis fans. You've done well - please pass on all your apologies on the BBC's behalf from me to all your partners who had to endure your late-night lights, laptop keyboard tappings and mobile bleeps. A really fab effort. Murray will up again on Thursday (that's today actually!). Might see you then then...

0051: It's almost 2am in Paris. I guess that makes it a little later than UK time. So what a day....Federer out. Nadal battles through. Safin retires.

0048: The crowd clamber for Murray's sweatbands. Can't beat a nice drop of Scottish sweat. No fireworks tonight from either player. Look in the dictionary for a ground-out result and you'll see Murray vs Blake. Murray definitely playing within himself though. So he'll be up against Radek Stepanek in round three.

Murray 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) Blake
Murray gets an early break and gets a 2-1 lead in the tie-break. Blake storms up to the net and smashes the ball back to recover the break. 2-2. A big Murray serve and edges ahead. The players change ends with a 4-2 lead. More drink onboard and the crowd's shouts echo around the stadium. A long Blake serve almost takes Murray's head off - another line challenge from Murray and loud boos ring around. And then a curving ace hands him his 21st serve without reply. Blake cracks one to the baseline and grabs a break back. An incredible dipping pass clips the net and out of nowhere and it's two match points. game over. His 64th victory in the season.

Murray 6-3 6-7 (5-7) *6-6 Blake
There we have it. 6-6 and tie-break.....almost inevitable. Each server seemed so tired after their service game they seemed to be saving their energy. How's this going to go? Don't turn that light out now folks? We're almost strong....

0038: My eyes are drooping but your texts and twitter messages are magnificent. great work all round. The tie-break could be our saving grace.

Murray 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-5* Blake
Murray gets within one game of the match with a fairly steady serve. Blake plays a cute dipping lob but it falls wide. My tummy's even started singing. Can someone twitter over a biscuit or something? Please.

Murray 6-3 6-7 (5-7) *5-5 Blake
Blake takes the game with Murray limply prodding the ball into the net. This will be a tie-break if it goes to 6-6 - that's what my sources tell me anyway....

Text in your views on 81111
Sarah fox in middlesbrough, via text 81111: "no chance of gettin any sleep untill this game is done! Cmon murray! "

Murray 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 5-4* Blake
Most of that was a really strong service game from Murray and then the wobble returned. A solid smash from Blake (I had a mate called Blakey) and Blake has got a chance now of levelling to deuce with a wild half-volley beyond the line. Not a chance though - ace number 19 and Murray's shouting again. "C'mon" - I think a million people waiting for bed are echoing your thoughts Andy.

Murray 6-3 6-7 (5-7) *4-4 Blake
Great defence from Murray and he's got the American on the ropes. Wobbling at 30-30. Time for Murray to wind it up? Ummmm no - he plays it long and Blake's got the initiative back. And into the net from Murray. Loving all your tales from the train, in bed, all over the place. Sport has the hold doesn't it - how many times have we all said 'Just one more game, one more game'....don't even think about leaving me now.

Text in your views on 81111
Dan-north - sleepy student, via text 81111: "Uh oh, got a project due 10am. What are the chances my lecturer watches the bbc tennis ticker? Come on andy"

Murray 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 4-3* Blake
Blake fires the ball at Murray but somehow the Scot reacts well. He's woken up again. And an ace to follow. Still no breaks since the first set.

Murray 6-3 6-7 (5-7) *3-3 Blake
Blake takes the game with Murray popping one into the net. And just caught a peek of a ball boy striding across the court - he looked about five years old. Definitely should be in bed.

pirate_joe on Twitter: "What a start to the tournament. First Federer & now Murray struggling so early. Good game. C'mon, we're all behind you Andy"

Murray 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 3-2* Blake
Blake's turn to look weary as he places the ball into the net with an easy backhand. Interesting fact - the umpire in the chair looks like my cab driver - just without the strange trilby. Blake plays it long and that was a good chance to get on top. Murray plays a cute shot from the base into the feet of Blake and it's the game.

Murray 6-3 6-7 (5-7) *2-2 Blake
Murray shouts at the heavens "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" - and it deserved the capital letters. Another loose one drifts out to the left and Blake's in control. Blake prowling at the net and it seems quite easy. How much does Murray really want this?

Murray 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 2-1* Blake
Blake's just too strong and lively at the moment. Murray gets passed and he slams his racket into the ground. When I was in Paris a couple of years ago the cabs were a blinkin' nightmare after midnight. These boys had better hope their drivers are still working tonight. Otherwise it's get your sleeping bags out. Murray looks pooped but he just holds on to his serve.

Murray 6-3 6-7 (5-7) *1-1 Blake
Murray's shoulders droop as Blake's serve comes crashing down. There's blood weeping out of Murray's right knee following that fall. Not too bad though. Blake getting reward from deep second serves and he survives. Honours even.

Murray 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 1-0* Blake
Murray takes the first game and it's deep breaths all round - anybody tucking into their midnight snacks yet? Laptops or mobiles in bed maybe?

Text in your views on 81111
Anon in Glasgow, via text 81111: "C'mon Andy, I need to get to my bed!"
I second that! But c'mon everybody - your twitters and texts are working wonders. Let's do this together.

Murray 6-3 6-7 (5-7) *0-0 Blake
Blake wins a sweet opening point but Murray's serve again gets him level at 1-1. Blake's feet raise upwards like a ballet dancer and he gets a break point with a dominating pass down the Murray's backhand. Big cheers from the French crowd. Seems like they've got more of a American flavour. Into the net by Blake as he wound up another blaster but it falls too low. The word is sloppy - almost tired. Murray's tactics in this tie-break involve spin, spin and more spin defence from the back. And it's got Blake stumbling. Slow handclaps as Murray takes a couple of swigs from his water bottle. 3-3 at the half-way stage. Blake hits back with a good push to the back and a follow-up smash. More whoops from the crowd and Blake has a two point lead. A sweet rally and Murray passes. Those weary Scottish legs will not want a third set. Murray falls to the ground and whinces in loud pain at the net. He looks like a floundering fish and it doesn't look good. Two set points for Blake. One saved. Tense times. And a booming forehand leaves Murray stranded like his feet are in concrete.

Murray 6-3 6-6* Blake
Murray cruises through that one and it's tie-break time. We all love a tie-break don't we?

Text in your views on 81111
Scott in Glasgow, via text 81111: "Where is Murray getting this table tennis like forehand from? Fine against the likes of Blake, but when he patently needs to be flattening it out more to beat the big boys, he seems to be going the other way. Very confusing"

Murray 6-3 *5-6 Blake
Both players mixing it up and Murray takes it to 30-30 with a booming Blake forehand flying just long. Someone in the crowd just mad a noise. It might be one of the cleaners actually. Great net play from Blake and now it's Murray's time to awake from his slumbers to make a strong pass. Blake goes long - sloppy and he's gutted - and Murray's got the A next to his name. Advantage that is, not apple or aubergine. Some really nice rallies with both players raising their game. Crowd definitely woken up and Blake recovers to take it.

Kelson on Twitter: "Murray looking more lethargic than usual, can see Blake taking it from here!!"

Murray 6-3 5-5* Blake
Murray hanging in there. Murray's stretching his legs and it seems to be a problem with his right hip.

Murray 6-3 *4-5 Blake
Murray looking in a spot of pain. Thinking of bed maybe? And Blake stays strong and powers down a serve and Murray's wobbling a little here. The world number four just needs to find that gas pedal again.

Murray 6-3 4-4* Blake
Murray's serve under pressure and he's pushed to deuce with Blake cranking his game up. Murray holds on though. Winner of this by the way plays No. 13 Radek Stepanek.

Get involved on 606
JamboTheJourno on Twitter: "He doesn't seem to be hanging around. Bet he wishes the season had a few more tournaments to go."

Murray 6-3 *3-4 Blake
Blake once again moves up a gear and has Murray scampering. The American takes it and Murray seems to be having a breather.

Murray 6-3 3-3* Blake
A Murray combination of big serve and delicate dropshots gives him the edge at the start of this game but a forehand on the run with his size 14s flying through the air and Blake takes a cracking point. Nice shot selection. Easy game.

Text in your views on 81111
Stephen in Bercy, via text 81111: "Just left the stadium before the metro closes and I'm stranded. Been here since 11am so maybe its time for bed! Stadium was very quiet. Felt like I was the only one there supporting federer at the end! Stephen"

Murray 6-3 *2-3 Blake
Blake whacking the ball like a woodman with an axe in his palm. He gets Murray pushed into the sides and the Scot looks a little uncomfortable. A magical backhand on the run gives Blake no chance - and it's 30-30. A few murmurs in the crowd - that shot was worth more than a murmur. A ripple of applause at least. C'mon you Parisians. Blake edges it.

Murray 6-3 2-2* Blake
Murray's serve is not letting him down so far - apart from a few weak second serves. Blake venturing between wildly ambitious and lacklustre. He needs to stick to one game plan. Murray in control without playing brilliantly.

Murray 6-3 *1-2 Blake
Blake edges ahead with a steady service game. The Florida boy will need a few more of those to stay in it.

Murray 6-3 1-1* Blake
Murray working hard here and it goes to deuce on his serve. Another ace gives him the advantage and as the seats continue to empty out a double fault takes it back to deuce. Blake still sweating by the bucket load. A wild Blake backhand soars a mile long and Murray edges it with another strong serve. Good comeback that after being 15-40 down. It's deathly quiet in the stadium.

Murray *6-3 0-1 Blake
Blake takes the service game. Back up to speed now after sorting out all the communication options. Don't want you guys needlessly heading to 606. So remember - TEXT 81111 or twitter. See below.

2305: Just a reminder. 606 is down. Time out til the morning. Other options? There's text on 81111 or you can drop me a quick twitter.

Murray 6-3* Blake
That was a stroll in the end. Three set points and a brilliant dropshot hands Murray the set.

Murray *5-3 Blake
Murray makes a sweet pass to grab the opening point. Another Blake dropshot gets Murray scrambling across the court. Murray hits back though and gets the break back. One game from the set. Steady, unspectacular.

Murray 4-3* Blake
Murray's chance to try a cheeky drop and it works thanks to a whole bag of spin. Nice. Blake is really unlucky after playing a cracking cross-court shot that snags the tape and goes just wide. Was going to use the words 'snibs' then but realised some may not understand my conkers terminology. Anybody know their conkers?

Murray *3-3 Blake
Blake is wearing support on his right knee and ankle and he's looking a little jaded. Just a blip I reckon. Both players looking a little tired. Murray recovers to deuce after a brilliant run around to all corners of the court finishing with a tidy cross-court dropshot. A dodgy Blake smash keeps him in it and another dropshot finally pays off. All level.

Get involved on 606
Chelski-4-life on 606: "Andy to win comfortably 6-2 6-2 .. blake is at the end of his career and ageing .. so murray will have no problems.."

Murray 3-2* Blake
Murray bangs down some more serve bullets but Blake showing some resistance. Murray sporting an all white outfit apart from some red straps on his back which gives the impression he's wearing a small rucksack. Blake is airborne on the baseline and an attempted dropshot falls short. The American just needs to just take it easy - too many errors. A fabulous Blake backhand makes it deuce after a weak second serve. Game on folks - Blake's woken up. It's Murray's time for a loose one which goes long. And the break has gone after Murray plants one into the tape and the ball skids wide.

Murray *3-1 Blake
At last, a rally. Murray moving like a rabbit - that's smooth by the way - and he takes the first two points after several stunning half-volleys. Blake looking a little sleepy and a limp backhand into the net and it's the first break of serve. I wonder what time the Paris Metro closes? A few empty seats now after the Federer clash.

Murray 2-1* Blake
Murray firing up with his serve and the ball is whipping off the hard blue surface. And it's over before I say it's over. Another ace.

Murray *1-1 Blake
Blake is sporting a white headband and a 6/10 beard. Chin coverage I mean. Bit scruffy - maybe he grew it waiting for the Federer game to finish. A lot of backhands strangely. Just an observation. Not a lot of noise from the crowd and that's it. Game over.

Murray 1-0* Blake
It's 20 minutes away from midnight and Murray takes an easy first game with a sweet ace. Gentle starter.* denotes next to serve

2232: It's Murray to serve first. Here goes....

5 live's team tweeting from Paris: "Benneteau showing some nice skills... Federer's radar way off... Murray sitting in the players lounge, running out of things to do"

A shock result
So the world number one Feds is out. Perhaps he's resting ahead of London? The 15-time Grand Slam champion has still never been further than the quarters at the Paris Masters. Benneteau aced his first match point and fell to the floor in tears. They've mopped them all up and Murray and Blake are warming up. Is anybody out there? Still up?

2226: Thanks to Nadal's epic and Federer losing out over three sets to local boy Benneteau, Murray has had to knock back a Horlicks, slip out of his pyjamas (possibly) and get onto court. It's nearing midnight local time. Just three days after hoisting his sixth trophy of the season, he's fighting for a third round spot in the Paris Masters. Murray and Blake are 1-1 in the head-to-head and the last time they played?...In the summer in London at the Queen's final when Muzza came through. Will his recovering wrist hold up? Can he show some form with the London ATP World Tour Finals coming up in two weeks? We shall soon find out…..

Get involved on 606
RealFrenchFan on 606: "Andy has too much class for James Blake who is clearly a spent force now - to think the played the TMC final only a few years ago..."

2220: Wakey wakey! Unbelievable - Roger Federer is out of the Paris masters after a phenomenal show from Frenchman Julien Benneteau in three sets. It's been a day of emotions in France. Safin bowed out of the great game and Nadal survived five match points to see off fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro. Benneteau is still blubbing - will there be any more tears tonight? But now it's Murray time after a mammoth wait and he's up against American James Blake. Get your texts and 606 comments in now. Up for some Parisian madness?

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see also
Murray sees off Blake in Paris
12 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Benneteau stuns Federer in Paris
11 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Davydenko closes on London place
10 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Safin starts final event with win
09 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Agassi predicts slams for Murray
09 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Murray takes Valencia Open title
08 Nov 09 |  Tennis

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