French Open fourth seed Andy Murray was dumped out in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros by David Ferrer. Ferrer, ranked sixth in the world, extended his recent winning streak on clay against Murray to four consecutive wins. He now sets up an all Spanish semi-final against six-time French Open champion, Rafael Nadal. Although Ferrer is a stronger clay court player, Murray will be disappointed that he produced almost 60 unforced errors in four sets and only managed a 53% successful first serve.
The Scot did speak of his need to better his current fitness levels, “I need to get some good physical work in between now and Wimbledon. I need to make sure I am in slightly better shape. I think that is going to be important for me. I was a little bit out of breath after some of the longer rallies today.” Murray now heads to the UK, preparing for Queens before Wimbledon.
Meanwhile the world number one, Novak Djokovic, survived four match points against local hero Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Serb, to book his spot in the semi-finals to face his old rival Roger Federer. Although Federer did not have to save any match points, he did have to fight from two sets down to beat Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro.
Whilst Djokovic continues in his quest of being only the third man to complete the Grand Slam, his thoughts may be clouded in the knowledge that Federer beat him in last year’s French Open semi-finals. Either way, tomorrow’s semi-final could prove to be another epic match between these two greats.
Both Tsonga and del Potro, along with Murray, know that in any other era they surely would have had their hands on at least one piece of Grand Slam silverware had they not encountered the likes of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer. As these three march on, it would be fair punt that Murray will strike back as the season moves onto grass.
In the women’s game Maria Sharapova created her own piece of history by advancing to her first French Open final after beating Petra Kvitova in straight sets. A win on Saturday would result in a career Grand Slam for the Russian. Standing in the way is Italian Sara Errani who stunned Australia’s Sam Stosur by winning in three sets. Stosur made life difficult for herself in committing a high number of unforced errors especially when compared to her Italian opponent (48 – 21). Ever gracious in defeat, Stosur said, “I think I need to probably look back on the match a bit more before I can give it a true reflection. She played some good points, then I got a little bit on the back foot again, and I couldn’t afford to do that. Unfortunately I let it happen again, and, yeah, I paid the ultimate price.”
In a classic David versus Goliath final, Sharapova, who will take the world number one spot from Victoria Azarenka on Monday, faces Errani, currently ranked 23 in the world.