Thursday, February 22, 2018
Sports

Stressed-out Murray carries on

PARIS — Entertaining as his French Open quarterfinal might have been, Andy Murray hardly enjoyed the experience.

"When you're out there," Murray said, "I personally find it quite stressful."

You don't say?

Yelling at his entourage and muttering to himself, Murray, seeded second, alternated between brilliant and bad for the better part of two sets while dealing with a French opponent and a partisan crowd Wednesday, before righting things to beat No. 9 Richard Gasquet 5-7, 7-6 (7-3), 6-0, 6-2 and reach his fourth semifinal at Roland Garros.

"I thought I did well, for the most part, in a tough atmosphere," said Murray, whose next opponent is defending champion Stan Wawrinka, a 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (9-7) winner against 55th-ranked Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Murray led 5-2 in each of the first two sets and got broken while serving for both at 5-3. Then he trailed 3-1 in the second-set tiebreaker, a critical moment.

"Had I won the second set," Gasquet said, "it would have been a totally different match."

After Murray's ace made it 3-2, Gasquet got to a drop shot and wound up for what should have been an easy one-handed backhand, his signature shot. The ball clipped the net tape, though, allowing Murray a putaway for a winner. That, basically, was that.

Murray can regroup today as the quarterfinals in the top half of the draw are played: No. 1 Novak Djokovic against No. 7 Tomas Berdych, and No. 12 David Goffin against No. 13 Dominic Thiem.

Because of rain, zero points were played Monday, and only about two hours' worth were contested Tuesday. The rain has tightened the schedule to the point that players will compete several days in a row to get to the final instead of enjoying a major's usual off-days.

With more wet weather forecast, the prospect of completing the tournament by Sunday is iffy.

Aiming to win his fourth consecutive major and complete a career Grand Slam, Djokovic continued his charm offensive with the fans after a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5 victory over No. 14 Roberto Bautista Agut, cajoling a ball boy to join him in bowing, then donning a floppy yellow hat.

Later, the first women's semifinal matchup was established, with No. 4 Garbine Muguruza of Spain ending the surprising run of 108th-ranked American Shelby Rogers 7-5, 6-3, and 2011 U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur eliminating Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 7-6 (8-6).

In fourth-round matches originally slated for Monday, No. 9 Venus Williams lost and her sister, No. 1 Serena, won.

Venus came up short in a bid to get to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros for the first time in a decade, dropping eight games in a row during a 6-2, 6-4 loss to No. 8 Timea Bacsinszky.

Bacsinszky plays 58th-ranked Kiki Bertens, whose first Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance came via a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 victory over No. 15 Madison Keys of the United States.

Defending champion Serena defeated 18th seed Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-1. Williams looked very much like a 21-time major champion facing a 21-year-old who has reached one major quarterfinal.

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