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Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 17:47 UK

Inspired Gonzalez sees off Murray

FRENCH OPEN
Venue: Roland Garros Date: 24 May - 7 June
Coverage: Live on Red Button, live streaming and text commentary on BBC Sport website, updates on BBC Radio 5 Live plus commentary on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra. TV coverage on Eurosport

By Chris Bevan

Andy Murray

Highlights - Murray down and out in Paris

Andy Murray's dream of winning a first Grand Slam title in Paris was ended by Fernando Gonzalez, who outclassed him to reach the French Open semi-finals.

The British number one knew all about the Chilean's huge forehand but could not cope with it in the first set.

Murray responded strongly to level the match but only won seven points as the 12th seed ran away with the third set.

Gonzalez kept up the pressure in the fourth, sealing a 6-3 3-6 6-0 6-4 win, and he will meet Robin Soderling next.

Soderling's defeat of defending champion Rafael Nadal in the fourth round had opened up Murray's half of the draw but the Scot, who had never gone past the third round at Roland Garros before this year, was unable to produce the performance he needed to take advantage.

"I have to give him a lot of credit," said Murray afterwards. "I've played against him before and he hits it hard, but today he was hitting it huge.

606: DEBATE
knee_high

"It's easy to look from the side and think you could have done this, you could have done that, but the guy was just hitting it so hard."

"The start of the third set was disappointing. I had a couple of chances to hold serve and I didn't take them, and at the end of the match I played poorly."

Gonzalez, 28, is an expert on clay who came into their quarter-final in superb form and he maintained that standard for most of the match, producing some stunning shots.

Murray matched him for most of the first set but could not find a way past his opponent's fearsome forehand and, at 3-4, was broken for the first time when he followed his first double-fault at 30-all with a poor approach shot on break point that was a gift for Gonzalez.

There was no way back in the first set for the Scot but he managed a vast improvement in the second, digging in from the back of the court and patiently waiting for errors.

Gonzalez was still going for big winners but mistakes were creeping into his game and, after he cracked on serve at 2-3, Murray kept his cool to serve out for the set.

Murray takes positives from French exit

At that stage it looked like the third seed was on top but he inexplicably collapsed, winning just seven points in the third set as Gonzalez wrapped it up without the loss of a game in just 24 minutes.

The fourth set was a lot closer but the damage was done and more mistakes by Murray - and some fantastic tennis by Gonzalez - quickly put him in trouble again when he was broken to trail 3-5.

Murray responded brilliantly when Gonzalez served for the match, breaking back to love, but his frustrating day was summed up when he promptly disintegrated again in the next game to hand victory to his rival.

"I guess he's a better clay-court player," added Murray, who has never won a title on this surface. "I had my chances but didn't take them and he came up with some big shots in the mean time.

"No-one's hit the ball that big. If that happens, sometimes you've got to say, 'too good'.

"If you look at some of the shots he's hit, he's hitting forehands from a metre wide of the tramlines on some points - and hitting winners off them.

"Even if you try to hit a ball to his backhand, he runs around and spanks a winner. You can't do a whole lot about that."

Gonzalez, who had not dropped a set in his four previous matches, said his tactic was to try to put Murray under pressure.

The world number 12 explained: "I was playing really hard and I tried to dominate with my forehand.

Robin Soderling
Soderling celebrates after reaching his first Grand Slam semi-final

"I know he's not used to the ball bouncing high because he doesn't play on clay much. I took every chance that he gave me and that was really important in the fourth set."

He progresses to only his second Grand Slam semi-final, where he will meet Soderling after the 23rd seed from Sweden crushed Nikolay Davydenko to triumph 6-1 6-3 6-1.

Soderling, who like Gonzalez possesses a powerful forehand, recovered from a slow start to end up an easy winner and explained: "I was a little bit lucky in the beginning.

"I saved two break points in the first game and I broke him straightaway. So instead of maybe being down 2-0 I was up 2-0, and then I think from then I played very well."

Davydenko, who turned 28 on Tuesday, was given the runaround and said afterwards: "He played faster.

"It was very good control from the baseline. Normally, he never had this. I tried to run, but I am not Nadal."

The remaining men's quarter-finals take place on Wednesday, with Juan Martin del Potro taking on Tommy Robredo and Roger Federer playing Gael Monfils.



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see also
French Open day 10 as it happened
02 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Champion Nadal falls to Soderling
31 May 09 |  Tennis
Super Murray into quarter-finals
31 May 09 |  Tennis
Ivanovic sent to defeat in Paris
31 May 09 |  Tennis
French Open day eight as it happened
31 May 09 |  Tennis
Djokovic suffers shock Paris exit
30 May 09 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis


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