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Gasquet v Murray as it happened

Men's singles fourth round result:

R GASQUET (Fra) 8 v A MURRAY (GB) 12

7-5 6-3 6-7 (7-3) 2-6 4-6

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By Tom Fordyce at Wimbledon

Gasquet 4-6 Murray
Driving forehand from Murray - 15-0. And then - why? woeful drop-shot to throw away a point. Big serve out wide, Gas crashes into the net - 30-15. Massive ace. We're on the brink. Chaos. Big serve down the middle - he's done it! Gasquet barely swings his racquet, the ball clatters frame and dies, and Centre Court goes ripe bananas.

Murray reels backwards, opens his mouth wide and screams at the black sky above. The entire crowd is on its feet, applauding their palms to blisters, while Gasquet trudges to his chair a broken man. If this match isn't the one which wins the British public over to Murray, he might as well retire.

Gasquet 4-5 Murray
Is that Gasquet floater wide? It is - 0-15 - but then Murray goes wide with two of his own. With the lights blazing on the scoreboard, he forces Gas wide and the Frenchman tips his backhand into the net. Murray dashes in to a lame dropper and thrashes it away - match point. Come on, come on... but Gasquet rushes in behind a big first serve and creams the volley home. Murray throws up a lob at deuce and Gasquet produces a ridiculous overhead backhand smash. Shot of the day, followed by a booming serve. This will be the last game we have tonight, whatever happens...

Gasquet 3-5 Murray
It's genuinely hard to see things from up here, but let's lean forward and squint it out together. Murray dumps an overhead into the net from about three inches away but stiffens his resolve with steely fortitude, volleying nervelessly to move within four points of a remarkable win. Hold onto your keyboards.

Gasquet 3-4 Murray
The Frenchman laces a weary backhand wide - what's he got left in the Gas-tank? At 30-30 he pops away a volley reminiscent of his first-set form, but Murray is hunting him down with relentless, cold-eyed hunger - break point as Gasquet sends another backhand into the tape. Is that an ace? There's a challenge - it is, by the width of millipede's shoelace. Deuce - and after Gas creams linewards, another as Murray goes for the killer drop-shot/lobber combo. Bellows from middle-aged ladies around Centre as Gasquet balloons a forehand long to ship another break point - he then dinks in a drop-shot, and Murray can't scrape it up and over. What he can do is breeze a backhand winner down the line, but a follow-up goes needlessly long. Goodness. Gas double-faults again before whipping a forehand into the corner to go to advantage, and an ace down the middle saves his bruised bacon.

Properly dark out there now - we're three hours 46 minutes into this game, and Murray leaps out of his chair as the changeover ends - he's got to finish this soon or we'll be back in the morrow...

Gasquet 2-4 Murray
Cantering service hold from Murray, topped off with a booming thrasher of an ace. He turns to the crowd and waves his arms at them in a "Come on!" gesture. What more does he want - a court invasion?

Gasquet 2-3 Murray
Those Aussies from earlier have now jumped on board the Murray Express - chants of "Let's go Murray, let's go!" ring out from underneath green and gold Afros. Gas drills a racey forehand into the corner to stay within a break.

Gasquet 1-3 Murray
Rock-solid hold from Murray.- crashing forehands down the line as Gasquet chases desperately. Every point is being cheered like the match-winner.

Gasquet 1-2 Murray
You get the sense that this could be a tipping-point for Murray in his relationship with the British public - it's been a little lukewarm until now, but the reception for him out there is on par with anything Tim Henman enjoyed. Not sure Tim ever snarled like an angry hyena as Murray is, though.

Gasquet 0-2 Murray
You knew there would be swings to come, but this is stomach-churning - Murray's breezing along at 30-0, but three unforced errors on the trot give Gas fresh hope - a chance to break back immediately. Murray top-spins right and left off his forehand and saves the day - and when Gas goes wide and Andy aces, the break is maintained. Gasquet goes to the umpire to complain about the light, but he's clutching at well-lit straws - I can make out the detail on a woman's hat 40 metres away..

Gasquet 0-1 Murray
Gasquet was relentless in the first two and a half sets - he barely missed a shot. He's now pinging sitters wide and being dragged around court by Murray like an errant toddler on a Sunday trip round Ikea. Gas goes wide to bring round a deuce and double-faults with weak knees, but dashes in to the tape to pop away a saving volley. But what's that? His once-dreamy backhand has become a nightmare, and he flails wide to give Murray another break point - wasted with a weak return. The pattern repeats to the crowd's anguish, and another time too - five break points - and then, finally, Murray taps away a nerveless block-volley to snatch a brilliant break.

It was pandemonium already - you couldn't hear yourself type even before that break...

FOURTH SET

Gasquet 2-6 Murray
Well well. When Gasquet was two sets up and 5-3 in the third set, who possibly imagined that we'd be going into a decider? Murray slams his way through his service game like a runaway Flying Scotsman, and Gas staggers off to the toilets with the lop-sided look of a man who's downed eight pints in eight minutes.

Gasquet 2-5 Murray
Murray tears into Gas like a ravenous lion, pinging inch-perfect drives into left and right corners. Mexican waves roll around the arena as Gas flops a backhand into the train-tracks - it's another break, and we're staring down the barrel of a five-setter now...

Gasquet 2-4 Murray
Ear-splitting chaos as Murray holds to 30, scraping past a dicey moment with forehand wallop. Light fading out there, but anyone who tries to stop this could find themselves torn into 15,000 pieces.

Gasquet 2-3 Murray
I'm genuinely sorry you aren't here to see this - both players are now battling it out at close to the very top of their games, in front of a Centre Court crowd who would chew their own hands off rather than leave.

Gasquet 1-3 Murray
Things have been turned on their head to such an extent that even the Aussie fans, still in here and awake in sweaty gold t-shirts after Lleyton Hewitt's exit earlier, are now cheering on the Briton. Murray holds to maintain the breakage.

Gasquet 1-2 Murray
How's about that - Murray, a man transformed, breezes to 15-40. Kim Sears's eyes are out on happy stalks. Murray then barrells down the tram-tracks and he's broken him. Delirium in the gloaming.

Gasquet 1-1 Murray
Two hours 50 minutes now, and Murray's showing zero sign of flaggage. Big serves, solid hold.

Gasquet 1-0 Murray
Slightly anti-climatic hold from Gasquet, Murray aiming some death-or-glory winners down both sides and missing with wild-eyed over-enthusiasm.

THIRD SET

Gasquet 6-7 Murray
Right then - what can Murray produce at the moment of truth? Gas runs to the tape behind a deep backhand but clanks a backhand volley wide, and when Murray volleys with righteous fury to his right it's 4-0. Deafening roars fill the warm evening air. Gas sends down a blitzer and the complete opposite - a dropper as delicate as butterfly's sneeze - but Murray runs with inspired speed to flick away a backhand winner and move to 5-3. Gas drills a return netwards - 6-3 - and Murray then runs almost into the front row to fetch an impossible backhand past an astonished Gas to take the set.

What a comeback - in this set at least - and Murray howls at the gods as the stands erupt. Murray looked to have one foot in the grave there, but now he's right back in the mix. How will Gasquet react?

Gasquet 6-6 Murray
Oohs from the crowd as a Murray cross-court blocker just drifts long at 30-30. Gas, however, is showing the first tiny signs of mental wobbliness and thrashes a forehand into the divider. Murray then leans into a double-handed backhand and hammers it down the line. When Gas sends a shaky forehand long Murray screams with delight, but two long rakers go long. It's a tie-break...

Gasquet 5-6 Murray
Gasquet's backhand could make grown men cry - it's either the most beautiful or the cruellest weapon you've ever seen, depending on which side of the net you're on. Murray rides a wave of adrenaline to 40-15 but is dragged to deuce by the ferocity of the Gas groundstrokes. Murray throws in two high-risk droppers - to take the advantage, but another dropper - the stinker - blows it to howls of derision. Every game is now a mini-epic, and Gas keeps it squeaky with a forehand ripper down the line - but he prods a defensive forehand long, and the crowd celebrate as if Murray had just declared the invention of a car than runs on water.

Gasquet 5-5 Murray
Gas charges behind a first serve and can only frame a rapid return into the crowd. Murray goes down the line with another and sends the crowd into a frenzy with a clean winner for 0-40 and three break-back points. A 133mph ace damps the excitement, a soft-hands volley makes it 30-40 but then - remarkably - Gas double-faults to hand back the break. That couldn't be the start of something, could it? Could it?

Gasquet 5-4 Murray
Brilliant from Gasquet - dreamy nonchalance of both sides to leave Murray teetering at 15-40. A big first boomer sliced away by Murray saves one, his best volley of the match - deep off the backhand right into the corner - saves the second. Gas then floats a lob into dreamland, rips a backhand down the line, brings Murray in with a cheeky dropper and sizzles cross-court to snatch the break at the key time. Magnifique from the Frenchman - with your neutral hat on, he's been a happy joy to watch.

Gasquet 4-4 Murray
Utterly untroubled, Le Gas. He wins that service match to love. Where's Murray going to get this break from?

Gasquet 3-4 Murray
Nervy patrons stand and stretch after Murray clatters his way through a service game to 15. Judy Murray watches on with narrowed eyes.

Gasquet 3-3 Murray
38 winners now from Gasquet - Murray's taken so much punishment he's almost walking around as holey a a colander. It's 40-15 a toute vitesse and a barrelling serve down the middle polishes it off. Murray looking shell-shocked and shaky.

Gasquet 2-3 Murray
Six double-faults now from Murray - his first serve has been an absolute car-crash this evening. Gas has a breaker and looks to have it in le sac - only for Murray's tame backhand stab to land on the tape and roll cruelly into the Frenchman's box. Murray is then caught in two minds as Gas tries to pass him, half-pulling his racquet out of the way but too late to avoid catching frame, but he roars like William Wallace as a smasher cannons down and up away into the Royal Box. A toff waves a patrician palm but fails to take the catch. Skiddy slice from Gas forces Murray to waft long, a sitting duck of a second serve gives Gas a fourth break point but Murray stays wristily strong at the net to slam away a backhand volley. A teetering drop-shot gives Murray game point and a throaty roar erupts as Gasquet's stabbed backhand falls into the net.

Gasquet 2-2 Murray
It's 40-0 in the time it takes to say "Zut alors" as Murray shakes his head in disbelief at the Gas guzzling. Judy Murray looks as happy as a novice nun on a stag-do in Magaluf.

Gasquet 1-2 Murray
A man in a plastic Union flag bowler hat scratches his chin pensively as Murray winds up his first serve. Only landing 51% of his first serves, the Scot, and with his second dribbling over at an average of 87mph he's leaving the fridge door open for Gasquet to come nibbling.

Gasquet 1-1 Murray
Just a tiny strip of sunlight left in the corner of the browning court as Gasquet muscles down two more thumpers of first serves. He's definintely added wallop to that serve in the last year, and Murray can't dent it. You've barely heard a full Centre Court this quiet - it's like a public library when the shutters have come down.

Gasquet 0-1 Murray
Dear oh dear - Murray flops a mis-hit backhand into the net to ship another break point. He escapes with a meaty forehand and clattering volley, but the omens are woeful.

SECOND SET

Gasquet 6-3 Murray
When Gas misses down the line Murray gets going at 0-15 - and a drop-shot as delicate as a hummingbird's eyelash brings up 0-30. Shouts ring out. Gas then slips up through the gears, brings up set point with a driller backhand and only misses out when a reaching forehand meets tape. Murray can only net a stretching forehand - but then Gas puts a backhand into the top of the net to relieved applause. He charges the net behind his serve and slaps away a forehand volley for a third set point, but Murray dictates it beautifully and nervelessly with toppy forehands to drag it back to deuce. Gasquet repeats the volley trick, this time on his backhand, and Murray is then called for a code violation for using the language of a salty sea-dog to a line-judge. When Gas strolls in to whip away a forehand winner the set is his, and Murray is in it deep.

Gasquet 5-3 Murray
Murray holds to stay alive. Break needed - and he's only had one break-point on the Gas serve all match. Fingers crossed all around me.

Gasquet 5-2 Murray
For a man with a reputation for being a touch wobbly up top, Gasquet is looking remarkably equitable out there. Murray's started cursing at the heavens. His dad Willie watches on impassively from behind large shades.

Gasquet 4-2 Murray
That's more like it on the Murray serve - a couple of crunchers. Still little sniff of the break-back and even Kim seems to have left. Courtesy break, I'm told.

Gasquet 4-1 Murray
Shadows now stretching across three-quarters of Centre Court as Gas takes aim with the new balls. At 15-30 Murray tries a dinker down the line but misses by two inches. A 129mph Gas smasher out wide is unreachable but the first break point on the Gas serve comes out when Murray volleys crisply down the line. The crowd shift to the edge of seats but Gas brutalises a first serve at Murray's snout and he can only flail his return into the net. Groans fill the air. Gas puts his foot down and accelerates to the changeover with shoulder-shrugging indifference.

Gasquet 3-1 Murray
Gas is marching round court, baseball cap back to front, very much the cock of the walk. Murray's first serve is looking as flaky as a stale sausage roll - Gas is now taking the second serve several strides inside the baseline, and a casual doozy of a backhand cross-court brings up deuce.A better pair of forehands from Murray save the day and keep him vaguely in the match. A nervous woman in a rakish tam o'shanter picks at her nails nervously.

Gasquet 3-0 Murray
A succession of panicked "Come on Andy!"s ring out - the first a high-pitched squeak, the second an angrier male bellow. Gasquet drills in two crunchers of first serves and Murray, having lost lost four games on the bounce, is reeling.

Gasquet 2-0 Murray
The Murray drop-shot is like barometer of his game - he flails two woeful wobblers into the net and follows them up with a miserable double-fault. Two break points - and when he leaves Gasquet with a slow looper mid-court, the Frenchman flips a backhand winner away. Very quiet on Centre Court.

Gasquet 1-0 Murray
Gasquet clambers all over Murray to race to 40-15, as a worried silence falls over Centre. There's a revival of sorts as a beefy backhand drive leaves the Frenchman nowhere, but Le Gas turns on the heat to polish him off. There's a chap in the crowd wearing the Federer cardigan and RF baseball cap, looking rather pleased with himself. Although hot.

FIRST SET

Gasquet 7-5 Murray
Anxious shouts echo round the famous old rafters as Murray slams a forehand wide to wobble at 15-40. He then double-faults horribly to offer up two sets points, saves one with a Red Cross ace and somehow reaches a Gasquet drop-shot despite starting from five feet behind the baseline. Deuce. Gas then backhands him into brutal submission to set up another break point, but sensational scampering forces Gas to dump his set-winner of a volley into the net. A rock-solid first serve at 131mph holds Gas at bay before a ripper of a forehand cross-court brings up break-pointer no.5 - and when Murray lifts a simple volley wide, the set has gone.

Brilliant from Gasquet in that key game - the crowd can't believe it's gone, and in a match this tight you fear for what that capitulation might mean.

Gasquet 6-5 Murray
The crowd couldn't be more rapt here. Gas fumes with Gallic moodiness as Murray out-slugs him from the baseline to go to 0-15, but another jaws-agape backhand pass turns the game around. Murray to serve to stay in the set. Two old ladies court-side have their floppy sun-hats pulled so low that they almost need eye-holes sewn into the brims.

Gasquet 5-5 Murray
Lucky bananas for Murray at 30-30 - with his first serve gone wonky, he drills a forehand at the tape and watches helplessly as it drops on Gasquet's side. Breath whistles through teeth around Centre. Gas then puts a backhand pass marginally into the train-tracks, fails with the Hawk-Eye challenge and we're level.

Gasquet 5-4 Murray
Gas could probably paint portraits with that backhand, so skilful with it is he. He flips a top-spinner deep before dinking a slicey drop-shot to move to 40-15, and when Murray drifts a forehand long he moves le nez in front. That one actually looked like it clipped the line, but Murray has already tossed away all four of his challenges - he lost the first one he went for, and frittered the rest away slightly sulkily.

Gasquet 4-4 Murray
There's the drop-shot dilemma for Murray - one leaves Gas flailing in the distance but the second curls and dies into the net. Two crunching serves give him advantage, but a flopsy second serve is drilled back at pace and Murray can only clunk it into the net. When Gasquet whooshes one of his killer backhands down the line he has break point, but Murray shocks him by coming to the net behind a second serve to punch away the volley. Gas then over-reaches with his overhead to a Murray lob and the Brit battler is off the hook. Nervous times.

Gasquet 4-3 Murray
You can't slide a cigarette paper between these two. Murray forehands with sweet timing to get to 30-30, only for Le Gas to pop away a volley that would have pleased Boris.

Gasquet 3-3 Murray
The shadow from the Centre Court roof stretches almost to Murray's feet as he leaps into his serve and batters one down the middle. Warm applause from the crowd, led by a woman with reddish hair wearing a Scottish saltire as a make-shift scarf.

Gasquet 3-2 Murray
Murray's glamourpuss ladyfriend Kim Sears leans forward in her VIP seat as a weak Gas forehand plops into the net to make it 30-30, but a hammering ace from the Frenchman saves the day. It also catches a female line-judge just under the chin. With old-fashioned British pluck she laughs it off, before blinking away the tears as soon as the cameras are off her.

Andy Murray's girlfriend Kim Sears

Gasquet 2-2 Murray
Great gambling from Murray at 15-30 - a casually tossed-in drop-shot which brings Gas scampering in before a forehead lob completes the job. He then runs round his backhand and drills a flat forehand cross-court to seal the game. A woman in a crimson blouse scratches her arms with the scary vigour of a flea-bothered hound.

Gasquet 2-1 Murray
If you haven't seen the Gasquet backhand before, it's a thing of delicate wonder - the sort of shot that makes you think tennis is the easiest game in the world. A ripper down the line leaves Murray stretching into nothingness.

Gasquet 1-1 Murray
Hello - there's Cliff Richard, the first time he's been spotted at this year's tournament, wearing a powder-blue blazer with dark blue tie. Rather prim look on his chops as Murray sizzles a whippy forehand cross-court to get himself on the board.

Gasquet 1-0 Murray
Groans from the crowd as Murray duffs a backhand volley into the net and boots the rebounding ball back into the divider. Gasquet creams one of his dreamy backhands down the line and Murray simmers.

1729: A little pre-match stattage for you: Murray's played Gasquet twice before, and he lost them both. On the bright side, Murray is on a six-match winning streak against Frenchmen. I quite like that last one.

1724: Giddy applause from the eager patrons as the two players stroll onto court. Murray produces a plastic bag containing six enormous bottles of blackcurrant squash and dumps it at the feet of a ball-boy.

1720: Some chat from TIm Henman as he banters with Sue Barker: "I like Andy's attitude. He believes he can win every game he plays."

Tim Henman

1715: A lot of pinking shoulders around Centre Court today - it's a burner of a sun up ahead today, but the cooling breeze has fooled some tennis-focused punters. Not textbook.

1710: Now then - this is a match, eh? Apparently Murray prepared for this clash by going out for an Italian meal last night with Mama Judy, bro Jamie (with his newly-shaved head) and his granny and grandad, before watching the Euro 2008 final. Textbook.

see also
Women's singles latest
23 May 08 |  Tennis
Men's singles latest
02 Jun 08 |  Live scores


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