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Page last updated at 22:08 GMT, Friday, 12 November 2010

Gael Monfils beats Andy Murray at Paris Masters

Andy Murray
Murray was playing his third Paris Masters quarter-final

Britain's Andy Murray saw his Paris Masters campaign end in the quarter-finals as he went down in three sets to Gael Monfils in Friday's night match.

The Frenchman was a deserved winner, dominating the final set to win 6-2 2-6 6-3 in one hour and 48 minutes.

Monfils will face Roger Federer in Saturday's semi-finals, while Murray must turn his attention to the ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena.

The eight man end-of-season showpiece gets under way on 21 November.

Murray had been hoping to arrive in London with a first Paris title but the Scot made a sluggish start to his quarter-final, dropping serve as early as the third game after some sloppy errors and handing the initiative to Monfils.

Getting to bed at three o'clock in the morning the night before a match is not ideal preparation. It's difficult to come out and play your best tennis

Andy Murray

The 24-year-old Frenchman, runner-up in 2009, wobbled when serving at 3-2, 40-15, playing three poor shots in succession, but Murray failed to make the return on break point and the home crowd was lifted even further.

Things got even worse for the Briton in the following game when, after saving three more break points, he blazed a wild forehand into the tramlines on the fourth, and Monfils wrapped up the set moments later.

The Frenchman began the second set as he had played much of the first but it seemed unlikely he would be able to keep up such a high level, and so it proved as he fired a forehand wide to fall 0-40 down in game six before Murray converted his second break point.

With London looming the Scot might have been forgiven for having his mind elsewhere, but a blistering forehand winner on break point in game seven and the resultant "Come on!" showed exactly where the 23-year-old's focus lay.

Moving with greater purpose now, he stepped in and clipped away a beautiful backhand pass on his way to a second straight break to level the match at one set all.

Murray had dominated the final set of his previous two matches and might have expected to do so once more against the unpredictable Monfils, but the Frenchman rose to the challenge magnificently.

606: DEBATE

He soon had Murray under pressure, the Scot fending off two break points at 2-2 before succumbing and hooking a forehand wide on the third.

Monfils was the man in charge now, rediscovering his form of the opening set with a combination of heavy serving, powerful winners and deft drop shots, and he did not waver as he saw out the match in style.

"I just tried to keep the points shortish," explained Murray after the defeat. "It worked in the middle set but didn't really work in the third set as well. Obviously the atmosphere is great and you can lift your game a little bit.

"I wasn't feeling perfect going into the match and it can lift you. We had some good points. They support their home player very, very well here."

And the world number four admitted that his lengthy battle with Marin Cilic the previous night had taken its toll.

"I wasn't expecting to feel great today," he said. "Getting to bed at three o'clock in the morning the night before a match is not ideal preparation. It's difficult to come out and play your best tennis."

Roger Federer and Jurgen Melzer
Federer played a superb first set on his way to beating Melzer

He must next face Federer, who beat Melzer 6-4 7-6 (7-4) to extend his winning streak to 12 matches and reach the Paris semi-finals for the first time.

"I wouldn't say it's a relief, because a relief is something else, but I'm pleased to be in the semis," the 16-time Grand Slam champion reflected.

"I knew it was going to be difficult because in the beginning I only had one hour of practice here. But now I feel good and I'm not too tired."

In the other half of the draw, Sweden's Robin Soderling beat Andy Roddick 7-5 6-4 to set up a semi-final against Frenchman Michael Llodra, who saw off Nikolay Davydenko 7-5 6-1.

"It will be tough against Soderling because he is a great indoor player and he is full of confidence," stated Llodra, who beat defending champion Novak Djokovic to reach the last eight.

"It was not easy to confirm my victory against Djokovic with another win - but I did not want it to end there."

The beaten Roddick now moves on to London for the ATP World Tour Finals, which start a week on Sunday, although the organisers have asked the players to be on site as early as Wednesday.

"It doesn't leave much time for me to get home and back now, does it?" the American stated. "Apparently we are available for you people [the media] for five days. If you ask nicely we'll be around. We can do coffee or something."



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see also
Murray v Monfils as it happened
12 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Murray through to Paris quarters
11 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Murray v Cilic as it happened
11 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Roddick completes London line-up
11 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Murray beats Nalbandian in Paris
10 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Federer backs six-week ATP break
09 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Nadal confident of making London
08 Nov 10 |  Tennis


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