Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gael Force Making It Tough for Kid Murray

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gael Force Making It Tough for Kid Murray

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS JONES

ANDREW MURRAY was finding it tough going on his French Open debut at Roland Garros today. The British No2 began well, racing into a 3-0 lead in the opening set against fellow 19-year-old Gael Monfils but then lost five games in row before conceding it.

Monfils claimed three junior Grand Slam titles in 2004 - the same year in which Murray was US Open boys' champion - and has made faster progress since then.

The Frenchman is the 25th seed in Paris, while Murray is 45th in the world rankings. At least Murray was able to go into the match having gained confidence from his straight sets victory over Monfils on clay in Hamburg a fortnight ago.

In a sign of the times, both players took to the court listening to their iPods. Murray made the better start, breaking the clearly nervous Monfils in the second game to race into a 3- 0 lead in a match that was disrupted by a short rain break between the opening two games.

Monfils won the fourth game using the drop shot tactic that had allowed Murray to beat him in Hamburg, and a thumping forehand broke the Scot in the fifth to tie the score at 3-3.

Murray saved three break points in the seventh game only for Monfils to bounce back with a second successive break to lead 4-3. Monfils took the next game before Murray hit back. The Frenchman then dropped two set points but he held his nerve in the following game to take the set in under the hour.

These are two highly-promising players but whatever they produced today could not match the amazing achievement of 19-year-old, reigning French Open champion Rafael Nadal. Last night he created a new world record with a 54th consecutive win on clay when he defeated Sweden's Robin Soderling 6-2, 7-5,6-1 Guillermo Vilas, the Argentine great who set the old record in 1977 before losing against Ile Nastase was courtside to watch Nadal's remarkable achievement. …

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