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Superb Djokovic eases past Murray

Andy Murray
Murray succumbed to his fourth loss to Djokovic in Monaco

Andy Murray fell to a 6-0 6-4 defeat at the hands of world number three Novak Djokovic at the Monte Carlo Masters.

Djokovic quickly seized the upper hand, breaking the British number one in his lengthy first service game and then twice more to race to the opening set.

Murray found his rhythm in the second set and he broke Djokovic at 2-1 but the Serbian broke straight back.

The Scot stayed with Djokovic only to tamely hand his old rival the break - and the match - in the 10th game.

Murray blamed a string of unforced errors for the defeat but did, however, take encouragement after recording his first victories on clay since 2006 at this event.

"Normally, my ground strokes are pretty consistent but today I hit about four winners and about 25 or 30 unforced errors, which isn't good enough against a player like Novak.

"I felt I was understanding how to play a little bit better on it.

"I've done a lot of things well this week, which gives me a bit of confidence for the rest of the clay-court season, but I was disappointed with how I played."

Djorkovic said he was surprised at Murray's poor start and was relieved to hold off the his opponent's fightback.

"It was a great win for me, but I didn't expect such an easy first set," Djokovic said.

"At the start of the match we had a really, really long game - the second of the match - and I think it was the turning point in that set.

"I was trying to stay focused and stay calm and be aggressive because Andy is a very talented player and can come back at any time."

606: DEBATE
BBC Sport's Piers Newbery

Djokovic hardly gave Murray a chance in his adopted hometown of Monte Carlo.

He was in stunning form and was able to dictate the early pace of the match, forcing Murray back behind the baseline.

The Scottish 14th seed was pushed to six deuces in his opening service game by Djokovic's huge groundstrokes and he eventually succumbed, handing the Australian Open champion the early break.

Djokovic relentlessly raced on, breaking Murray, who could not capitalise on two break points in the fifth game and lost the first set in 39 minutes.

Murray, who struggles to find his best form on clay, appeared to have settled into the slower surface's demands in the second set.

And a lack of concentration by his fellow 20-year-old saw Murray take advantage of Djokovic's errors and break at 2-1.

I have high goals and intentions in the major tournaments on clay

Novak Djokovic

But the world number three roused himself and broke straight back as Murray slung a drop shot into the net.

Murray gritted his teeth and fought back from 0-40 down at 3-3 to stay with his former junior rival, but his resistance faltered at the last.

Successive unforced errors let Djokovic in and he clinched the decisive break and the match to move into the quarter-finals, where he will face unseeded American Sam Querrey, who saw off French seventh seed Richard Gasquet 2-6 6-4 6-3.

Asked after the match if Murray could improve his game on clay, Djokovic said: "He needs to be more aggressive.

"To start working with Alex Corretja before the clay season is a good move. You can see that Andy is trying to mix it up and change the pace.

"I'm not 100% on clay, I still feel best on the hard courts, but I have high goals and intentions in the major tournaments on clay."


see also
Murray 'can be clay-court star'
21 Apr 08 |  Tennis
Murray up one place in rankings
14 Apr 08 |  Tennis


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