Monte Carlo Masters
A MURRAY (GB) bt F Fognini (Ita)
7-6 (13-11) 6-4
* denotes server
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Well, that was short and sweet wasn't it? Andy Murray was far from at his best there but his patient approach was too clever for Fabio Fognini and the Scot's reward is a place in his first quarter-final on clay. His opponent in the last eight will be David Nalbandian of Argentina or Nikolay Davydenko of Russia - that match will take place later on Friday. Let's hope the rain stays away for that one too...
Murray 6-4 Fognini
It all ends in tears for Fognini I'm afraid. He hurls his racquet into the ground after a couple more unforced errors hand Murray three match points and, although he saves on with a big serve, he flops a smash into the net on the next point and that, as they say, is that. Andy Murray is into the quarter-finals.
Murray 5-4 Fognini
No such problems for Murray on serve - he holds to love and is just one game away from wrapping this one up.
"Win or lose, this match raises huge questions about Murray's credentials on clay."
Superblymodest on 606
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Murray 4-4 Fognini
More and more errors are creeping into Fognini's game and Murray is getting a lot of joy just by waiting for the Italian to beat himself. That tactic takes Murray to 15-40 but Fognini is hanging on in there and, again, his serve rescues him and hauls him back to deuce. Eventually, the world number 108 holds but Murray must sense that the second set, and victory, remains within his grasp.
"Has anyone else noticed that one of the line judges is wearing what appears to be wearing a shower cap? Shame on Bevan for not relaying the important points about the match."
jjelhombre on 606
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Murray 4-3 Fognini
Murray needs a solid service game to consolidate - he has faced a break point every time today up until now. He manages exactly that too, with more patient play coaxing mistakes out of Fognini, who sometimes seems in a hurry to finish off points too early.
Murray 3-3 Fognini
Hmmm, perhaps this is why Fognini has never beaten a top-10 player? He self-destructs here, making three unforced errors to put Murray 0-40 up before making a hash of a half-volley and gifting the Scot the game. We are all square in the second set.
Murray 2-3 Fognini
The Italian is playing like he did at the start of the first set yesterday - inspired - and, just like yesterday, Murray is struggling to keep up. A deft drop shot from Fognini sees him start the game with a flourish and he continues to attack, sending down thumping shots from either flank. Murray seems to be unhappy with his strings now, specifically his lack of control of the ball, but he digs in and when Fognini sends a backhand volley into the crowd it means Murray has his first game of the day. And about time too...
Murray 1-3 Fognini
Murray has a bit of a moan about a line-call after seeing a backhand loop wide and another error sees him smack his racquet into the clay. Fognini is making his share of mistakes now too, however, and sees a backhand fly well long to give Murray a break point of his own. Two big serves get the Italian out of trouble, though, and he is into the net on the next point to put away a thumping volley and hold.
Murray 1-2 Fognini
Er, can someone wake Murray up please? Some very sloppy play from the back of the court sees him lose the next three points too, handing Fognini three break points. The Scot does get himself together, clawing back to deuce with some patient play but another mistake hands Fognini another chance and, when Murray fires a forehand wide, he is broken.
Murray 1-1 Fognini
The match resumes with Fognini a game down and at deuce on his own serve. Two points - and two excellent winners - later, the Italian is off the mark in the second set.
After a slow start yesterday, Murray was just getting into his stride against the world number 108 from Italy when the rain came down. Let's hope he gets going a bit quicker today...he just needs one more set to complete his victory and reach his first ever quarter-final on clay.
Fantastic news - the sun is out in Monte Carlo for the first time this week. Andy Murray, who has probably forgotten what it looks like, is already out knocking up on Court des Princes. We are going to resume very shortly folks.
RAIN STOPS PLAY
You people are mean. In a fit of pique (which is French), and because it's still raining, I'm shutting this down for the moment. However, I'm here all evening and will be ready to spring back into life should the rain clear in Monte Carlo. I will spend the intervening period doing some French revision.
"When is the next curry night?" says a suddenly rejuvenated Dirs.
"Chats et chiens you fool Newbery. D minus."
Ed in leeds via text
"It is et not est."
Neil the french teacher on holiday via text
"My French a-level in 1990 tells me that it should be "chats et chiens" as your dodgy French says "continues to rain cats is dogs.". Nonsense!!!"
Lumpster, York, via text
"RE 1724: Je crois que vous voulez dire chats et chiens. Et is and, est is the third person singular of être, to be."
From davidsccc on 606
"Typical, when we wanted rain earlier at 5-0, not a drop. But suddenly when Murray's in the ascension the clouds come rolling in. You think God has something against the Brits?"
Michael from Gannochy House via text
It continues to rain chats est chiens in Monte Carlo, not looking good for the immediate future. And Dirsy in a curry house? You don't get a physique like that by frequenting such establishments. You go straight to the pub.
"The call in the office is that the BBC Sport Online team curry nights, feat. Dirs, Cheese, Lyon, Newbery etc., would be the best banter in town. Can we get an invite?"
From Paddy, hungry in Baker St, via text on 81111
"Andy is surely the most courageous tennis player - he has the heart of a lion."
From David in Exeter via text
"Excellent summary of the tie break there but i'm afraid you put an "an" in front of fognini's name when clearly it should be an "a". Sorry, won't do."
Murray 1-0 (40-40) Fognini
Dark clouds gather overhead and a red mist appears to be gathering around Fognini at the same time. At various times in this game he seems to be moaning about the light, not having enough racquets, and needing some restrung. Murray complains that the Italian is taking too long between points. Meanwhile, the odd bit of tennis sees Murray earn, and miss, three break points. And the rain begins to fall. We're off for now...
Murray 1-0 Fognini
It's all go here, hard to keep up, but the good news is that BBC Sport funnyman Benjamin Dirs has just set off on a mission to get me some tea. Oh, and Murray holds easily.
On Court Central,
Stanislas Wawrinka has beaten Roger Federer 6-4 7-5
. Zut alors.
Murray 7-6 (13-11) Fognini
Fognini has a chance with a high volley at 1-0 but puts it in the net and Murray gets the advantage when the Italian double-faults at 2-2. However, the world number four makes an unforced forehand error of his own and they change around at 3-3. The pair then trade two more forehand errors before Murray fires a brilliant backhand to break again for 5-4. A limp forehand follows from Murray before Fognini forces another error to get the first set point of the day... mid-court forehand, Murray struggling, and the Italian hammers it over the baseline!
Phew. Murray chases down a drop shot but cannot put away the backhand and Fognini plays a winning lob volley for set point number two... a long rally follows but Murray dominates and forces a backhand error. A tired-looking backhand into the middle of the net from Fognini hands Murray his first set point but the Briton goes long with a backhand. He does the same on the next point and Fognini has a third set point...
Murray saves it with a brave rally finished by a smash. I need a cup of tea. Meanwhile, Wawrinka is serving for the match against Federer. So, we change around again and it's now 9-9, and Fognini smacks a return long. Set point number two for Murray...
Murray makes an error and screams in frustration. It's lucky I'm on until midnight. An Fognini error brings Murray set point number three and he serve-volleys, only to see a pass fly by him. Murray regroups and takes the next with a good serve and it's set point number four.... a loud crack of thunder draws a gasp, and Fognini puts a smash wide. An incredible tie-break after an amazing set.
Murray 6-6 Fognini
Murray opens with an error but then wins possibly the longest rally of the match when Fognini again falters first from the baseline. A big serve-backhand combination takes the Scot to 30-15 and he wins the game after a comedy ding-dong rally from days of yore. The two men stand about three feet away from each other and exchange volleys before Fognini sticks one over the baseline. Tie-break time...
"400 backhands in one rally (see 5-5). Wow. That's a lot."
Jack, at work, via text
Murray 5-6 Fognini
All credit to Fognini, he gets over the shock of seeing a 5-0 lead slip quickly enough to move 30-0 up but Murray hauls him back level. The crowd are certainly behind the Italian and give a hearty cheer when their man angles away a volley for 40-30. Cue a trademark Murray drop shot with so much slice it almost bounces back over the net. Deuce, and Fognini hits a couple of great serves to take the game before returning to his chair muttering one of the very few words I know in Italian. And it's not "ciao".
"Hooray, Murray arrives only half an hour late! C'mon Andy, give us a reason to be cheerful on a damp and miserable day!"
From Jo in a soggy Solihull via text on 81111
"RE 1621 - How's about that for a reply then mike!"
Neil, arborfield, via text
"Take a murray pie to the face Mike from London.(re 16.21)"
John from Falkirk via text
Murray 5-5 Fognini
Murray is in the groove as he powers through the opening two points before Fognini wins the best rally of the day after recovering a smash. The Italian then leans into a big forehand for 30-30 before we get an epic and very tense rally. The pair trade about 400 backhands before play switches and Fognini dumps a forehand into the net. The Italian chucks his racquet onto the ground before sending a volley wide on game point and Murray wins his fifth successive game.
Murray 4-5 Fognini
That's the spirit Mike. Fognini does not appear to share your confidence as he opens with two unforced errors but Murray then returns the favour for 30-30. A heavy slice from the Scot then produces another error and it's break-back point. A lengthy rally and Fognini cracks first, shanking a forehand into the tramlines and we're back on serve. It's a bit like Chelsea v Liverpool this. A bit.
"All the pre match hype of murray being number 3 after monte carlo.... Pride before a fall? I predict another let down."
Mike from london via text on 81111
Murray 3-5 Fognini
Look out, Murray has woken up at last. Bosh - big forehand, wallop - ace, thump - big serve, crunch - big serve. That is exactly what just happened.
"Message for Tarkeem (seen 1557), Nadal might go unbeaten on clay but not losing a set is asking too much."
Hank from Georgia USA via text
Murray 2-5 Fognini
Murray has a half-chance at 0-30 but paddles an awkward looking backhand into the tramlines. A heavy topspin forehand gets the Briton back on track and it's two break points. Fognini saves the first with a volley, but then dumps a forehand in the net and battle is well and truly joined.
Murray 1-5 Fognini
Murray sweeps a nice cross-court backhand onto the line for 40-30 and looks set to win a game at last... until Fognini belts a return straight past him for deuce. A decent serve and a sharp volley see the Scot finally get on the scoreboard.
"Murray to struggle through the first set before finding his feet to win the last 2 sets. He has always been a slow starter on clay."
Andrew from St Andrews via text on 81111
Murray 0-5 Fognini
OK Fabio, ease up... I'm struggling to keep up here. Fognini races through another love-service game and strolls back to his chair.
Murray 0-4 Fognini
Fognini continues to dominate, playing a noncholant drop volley for 0-30 before Murray sprays a desperate forehand wide and gives the locals a few new words for their English vocabulary. Two points later and Fognini grabs the double-break. Where's the rain when you need it, eh?
"Don't underestimate Fognini, clay is his preferred surface. Don't read too much into the dismantling of Cilic either though - the guy is a busted flush. Totally one-dimensional. Murray in straights (but tough)."
From The Man From Viltheed on 606
Murray 0-3 Fognini
That's impressive stuff from the Italian, who swats one beautiful backhand down the line on his way to a quick love game.
Murray 0-2 Fognini
Yikes. Murray slides in to retrieve a drop shot and has an easy chance to return the favour with Fognini behind the baseline, but the Briton catches the tape and it's 30-40. Break point and the perfect time to produce a first ace. Murray then goes wide with a forehand after creating an opening and it's break point number two... Fognini converts with a dipping pass that Murray cannot control on the volley.
"Murray to win 6-1 6-1 but still rafa to dominate clay season not dropping a set."
Tarkeem from mumbai via text on 81111
Murray 0-1 Fognini
And they're off... Fognini to serve. It's cold, dank, damp and blustery, which surely is an advantage for the Briton. Fognini looks ready to play the Murray game of varying his pace and an early rally is a case of 'who can hit it the gentlest'? The man from Sanremo comes through his opening service game from 15-30 by catching Murray a bit flat-footed twice in succession on his way to the net.
Fognini has already come through four matches, including qualifying, to reach this stage so he's a man in form. Unlike Federer, who has just dropped the first set against Wawrinka.
It still doesn't look too clever overhead as Murray and Fognini knock up. The dodgy weather has seen the pair shifted from the Court Central to the Court des Princes. The blue skies from earlier in the week have disappeared and I've just had a look at the forecast for next few days - not good....
BBC weather forecast for Monaco
The start of play today was delayed by five hours before a few matches started at around 1430 BST. In around 50 minutes of action, Roger Federer was already showing worrying signs as he slipped 5-3 behind Stanislas Wawrinka on Court Central. The rain came at a good time for the world number two but they are all out and knocking up again, including Murray and Fognini on Court des Princes.
The rain has abated in Monte Carlo, for now, and we are about to see if Andy Murray can break new ground and reach the quarter-finals of a clay-court event for the first time. He takes on world number 108 Fabio Fognini of Italy. No problem, surely?
Well, they have met once before and the 21-year-old Italian - nine days younger than Murray - thrashed the Scot 6-2 6-2 on Canada's hard courts two years ago. Fognini also had an impressive 6-2 6-0 win over Marin Cilic in the previous round so he is looking dangerous.