These two are old adversaries at major tournaments and this was
their third Grand Slam face-off.
When they met here in 2008 Gasquet had served for his place in the
quarter-finals but Murray turned the match on its head with one magnificent,
running backhand. That shot not only crushed Gasquet’s confidence, it also
fanned the flames of the crowd’s love affair with Murray. As he roared himself
on, they roared with him – and they have been roaring ever since.
The first week had seen Murray do what was required to get through
the rounds but he looked variously nervous, below par and, against Ivan
Ljubicic on Friday, in a spot of bother. This, though, is the second week and
it is like a whole new tournament and, in turn, Murray is like a completely new
player. He was confident, he was assured and he was playing like a dream.
In the course of two hours and four minutes, he racked up just 10 unforced errors and thumped 44 winners. There were 14 aces, 36 unreturned serves and 60 percent of first serves in play. This was impressive stuff and it had the Duke and Duchess on their feet as the final point was won (they popped into the clubhouse for a quick word with the Scot after the match). In response, Murray bowed to the royals and drew a round of applause for his efforts.
“It was nice
to be on first today,” he said with a huge grin. “I can go home,
relax and hope for some thunderstorms later.” After seeing Murray play
like that, the rest of the men in the locker room will be hoping that lightning
does not strike twice should they have to face the Scot in the coming days