- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

PARIS — As 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.”

Yelling at his entourage and muttering to himself, the No. 2-seeded Murray alternated between brilliant and bad for the better part of two sets while dealing with a French opponent and a partisan crowd on Wednesday before righting things to beat No. 9 Richard Gasquet, 5-7, 7-6 (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 (7) winner against 55th-ranked Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Murray had a much tougher time. He 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 lamented later, “it would have been a totally different match.”

He didn’t. 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.

Hoping to see Gasquet become the first Frenchman to hoist the trophy since Yannick Noah in 1983, spectators urged him on by singing his first name. They even loved a tremendous point Gasquet lost, when he wound up flat on his back, leaving his arms, legs, shirt, socks and shoes caked with the rust-colored dirt.

Murray’s white hat was smudged with clay, too. His entire being was smothered with angst.

He pointed at his temple. He screamed, “Hit it! Just hit it!” He looked up the folks in his guest box, including coach Jamie Delgado, and shouted various complaints, mostly craving more feedback.

Now he can regroup on Thursday, when the quarterfinals in the top half of the men’s draw will be played: No. 1 Novak Djokovic against No. 7 Tomas Berdych, and No. 12 David Goffin against No. 13 Dominic Thiem. Their fourth-round matches began on Tuesday and finished on Wednesday.

Because of showers, zero points were played on Monday, and only about two hours’ worth were contested on Tuesday. All the rain 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 in the forecast, the prospect of completing the tournament by Sunday is iffy.

Aiming to win his fourth consecutive major trophy 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 ending the surprising run of 108th-ranked Shelby Rogers, 7-5, 6-3, and Sam Stosur eliminating Tsvetana Pironkova, 6-4, 7-6 (6).

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

With the temperature around 60 degrees, Venus warmed up in a zipped-up gray coat, something that seemed more appropriate for winter wear. She fell 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.

Venus slipped to her knees at the baseline on one point and produced only six winners, compared to 24 unforced errors.

“The first few games she made some errors,” Williams said, “and in the last 12 games, I made all the errors.”

Bacsinszky will play 58th-ranked Kiki Bertens, whose first Grand Slam quarterfinal came via a 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory over No. 15 Madison Keys.

Defending champion Serena Williams defeated 18th-seeded Elina Svitolina, 6-1, 6-1. She looked very much like a 21-time Grand Slam champion facing a 21-year-old who has reached only one major quarterfinal, and she now faces unseeded Yulia Putintseva.

“Of course, she’s the best player,” Putintseva said. “She’s a legend.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More

Click to Hide