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Page last updated at 10:15 GMT, Monday, 21 April 2008 11:15 UK

Murray v Lopez as it happened

Monte Carlo Masters

First round result:

A MURRAY (GB) 14 bt F Lopez (Spa)

7-6 6-4

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By Tom Fordyce

Murray 6-4 Lopez
Of course he won't. F-Lo saves one match point with a last-chance saloon blast on his forehand, but he nets with another and it's all over. Solid from the British number one on his clay court bow, and it'll be Italy's Filippo Volandri up next.

Murray 5-4 Lopez
Bottoms shift towards the edge of seats as F-Lo finally discovers his pluck and holds to love. Murray looks a touch edgy. Surely he won't...?

Murray 5-3 Lopez
Or are we? Lopez finds some fizzle at the bottom of the bottle and stuns Murray to break for the first time. No panic stations yet, but eyebrows are raised.

Murray 5-2 Lopez
Murray's best game of the match. With F-Lo looking to build on that tiny chance in the previous one, Murray unleashes two absolute rippers on his backhand - the second a devastating lob-pass. We're on the brink.

Murray 4-2 Lopez
Skinny surprise chance for F-Lo as a thoughtless Murray backhand goes long to set up a break point, but Murray lands two thumpers on first serve to clean up the mess.

Murray 3-2 Lopez
No second break, but Lopez has the confused look of a man trying to taste music. He calls for water at the changeover and slumps in his chair with a deep sigh.

Murray 3-1 Lopez
Lopez's forehand is as reliable as Pete Doherty. He gets to 30-30 but flops a limp one long, and Murray is cruising.

Murray 2-1 Lopez
Murray gets as over-ambitious as Oasis on Be Here Now as he tries a top-spin lob which flies straight out. F-Lo still doesn't look happy, though - he's all grimaces and heavy sighs out there.

Murray 2-0 Lopez
It's all happening for the leggy Scot - he holds in the blink of a hummingbird's eye, and F-Lo is wobbling like a pensioner on a windy pier.

Murray 1-0 Lopez
The sun slips behind a grey cloud as the two men stride back onto court. Who said Monte Carlo was perfect? Murray has clearly been drinking confidence juice at the changeover, however, as he comes out like a peak-era Mats Wilander and breaks immediately with a super forehand push-pass.

FIRST SET

Murray 7-6 Lopez
Woeful mis-hit drop-shot from Murray puts him a mini-break down, but a lucky skip off the tape draws him level off F-Lo's first service point. Feliciano then goes long twice as a battle of backhand slices drives him insane, belts a forehand wide and looks to be out on his feet. He clings on to two service points but clouts a backhand out and Murray has his nose in front.

Murray 6-6 Lopez
Murray comes close to punching himself in the face with exasperation as he sets up a set point, only to blow it with a tepid forehand flap. A sensational lob takes him to deuce, but he throws away another chance and Lopez drives in three sizzling forehands to take us into the tie-break.

Murray 6-5 Lopez
Anything you can do, grumbles Murray, and holds to love in steely-eyed fashion. Bright sunshine as Lopez goes to his chair and buries his face in a bouncy towel.

Murray 5-5 Lopez
A sniff for Scotland's battler as he conjures up a miraculous stretchy backhand pass to go 0-30, only for Feliciano to streak through the next four points like a downhill rocket.

Murray 5-4 Lopez
Chance now for Murray as F-Lo goes to the changeover staring down the wrong end of a must-hold scenario. Small moment of drama as the umpire overules on a wide Lopez backhand and then leaps from his perch to show the Spaniard the smudge on the clay.

From placey1 on 606: "I expect Murray to win this game and progress in the tournament, maybe beating a big name on the way, just to the point where I think he'll win the whole thing and so place a bet on him. He'll then feebly lose the next match."

Murray 4-4 Lopez
Murray getting very little joy on the F-Lo serve so far, and we couldn't be more level - both players have won 23 points apiece.

Murray 4-3 Lopez
Rapid-fire hold to love for Murray as the cushioned seats around Court Central are gradually sat upon by privileged rear-ends.

Murray 3-3 Lopez
First yell of self-disgust from Murray as a running pass is pushed wide. He recovers with a splendid run-down of an airy F-Lo drop-shot, but then runs round his forehand to punt a woeful backhand way long. Level pegs once again.

Murray 3-2 Lopez
You can't move for drop-shots here - Murray forces Lopez deeper and deeper and then slices a devious devil just over the tape. Lopez battles back to break point by stepping up the aggression and coming in to the net to punch away a volley, but Murray finds a howitzer of a first serve and then leaves the Spaniard thrashing feebly at an out-of-reach lobber.

Murray 2-2 Lopez
Murray starts to mix it up, raking a whsitling backhand cross-court for a winner and then throwing in another disguised dropper. F-Lo comes up with a creamy drop-shot of his own and then seals the game when Murray misjudges another.

Murray 2-1 Lopez
Mama Judy scratches her nose up in the stands as her son holds again despite going long with an easy forehand. Low-key atmosphere so far - clearly a lot going on in the principality on Monday mornings.

Murray 1-1 Lopez
Super overhead backhand smash from leftie F-Lo, and he moves Murray around nicely to hold with ease. Murray's left ankle is strapped up with a black support, but he's moving smoothly at the mo.

Murray 1-0 Lopez
Solid start from Murray, a cunning backhand slice leaving Lopez stranded beyond the baseline, and he wins his opening service game to 15. Rivals in football as well as tennis, these two - Murray rooting for Barcelona, Lopez for Real Madrid. Spicy.

1131: Only one previous meeting between these two - a 7-5 6-2 cruise for Murray in Washington in 2006.

1128: The players are out on court. Murray's in a light grey t-shirt with navy piping, baggy white shorts and a white Fred Perry cap with a long, curved peak. Feliciano has a tight-fitting white t-shirt, long blue shorts and a navy headband.

1125 - from Alex DeLarge on 606: "Muzza should clinch it."

1120: I shouldn't complain, really - at least I've been to Monte Carlo, albeit for about 45 minutes in a listing van with a man called Ben Dirs.

1115: Idyllic scenes in Monte Carlo, where a soft spring sunshine is gently warming the faces of the millionaires who can be bothered getting out of bed to watch the tennis.

The bright orange of the cliff-top clay court stands out against the deep blue of the sparkling Mediterranean, and as a blossom-scented breeze ruffles tops of the pine trees, a brace of giggling ball-girls skip gaily down the tram-lines.

Meanwhile in Shepherd's Bush, where I am watching this match on a large TV screen, a cold drizzle falls from a joyless grey sky. To my right stands a rubbish bin overflowing with the stinking detritus of the weekend shift, while on my left, a small Welshman slowly chews his way through a cold piece of margarined toast.




see also
Murray up one place in rankings
14 Apr 08 |  Tennis
Murray will compete at Olympics
08 Apr 08 |  Tennis
Corretja to help Murray on clay
04 Apr 08 |  Tennis


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