Friday April 21.
Andy Murray described his Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters exit as “progress” and admitted he would have accepted a third-round defeat 10 days ago. The world number one was 4-0 up in the deciding set against Albert Ramos-Vinolas before the Spaniard hit back to qualify for the quarter-finals with a 2-6 6-2 7-5 victory. Murray was returning from injury at the tournament having been sidelined with an elbow problem since March 12. The Scot started his second-round match against Gilles Muller on Wednesday with three double faults in the first four points of the match and it did not get much better in his match-up against clay-specialist Ramos-Vinolas.
Interview with Andy Murray
Andy, how’s your arm doing?
My elbow still hurts. Still. But that isn’t anything special this week. For the past two years, every time I serve, it’s always a little painful. It’s part of my normal routine. That being said, the more the game progressed, the better I felt about it…
During the break due to your injury, you took the opportunity to be with your family. In the end, did the break do you good?
I think everyone likes to stay with their family. It’s important to do so as much as possible. As tennis players, we have irregular schedules, with all the travelling. Yes, this year, I enjoyed being with my family. Hope it was reciprocal (smile).
In Monaco, the environment is rather exceptional. Does it inspire you during the matches?
All players have different opinions. For me, the weather makes training much more enjoyable. Over the last two weeks, I prepared for the Mouratoglou Academy (in Sophia Antipolis). The weather was just perfect everyday! Sun, no wind, not too hot, not too humid. Just ideal. Here, the scenery is incredible. Scotland also has very beautiful views. But objectively, weather-wise, it’s far from perfect!
Having reached the final last year in Paris, are your ambitions for this year focused on clay?
I have more and more hope on clay. My short-term expectations this week are not especially high. But I hope to climb and join the fight for the title in Madrid, Rome, then at the French Open. There is no reason why it shouldn’t be so. I’ve learned a lot on clay in recent years. I won in Madrid, in Rome. In Paris, I wasn’t far off. We’ll see.
Can you think of a match that inspired you on TV, at the Roland Garros?
(He thinks). The match between Tim Henman and Coria in the semi-finals (in 2004, won by Coria in 4 sets, 7/5 at 4th). I’ve watched it again several times.
As for other players, here are results of the previous day of the tournament:
Pablo Cuevas joined Albert Ramos-Vinolas as a giant killer at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Thursday when the Uruguayan No. 16 seed did not face a break point in dispatching Stan Wawrinka, the third and 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka.
Barely 90 minutes after Andy Murray had exited the Monte-Carlo Country Club, Cuevas recorded his first victory over a member of the Top 4 in the Emirates ATP Rankings (1-4) when he put Wawrinka to the sword in a stunning 6-4, 6-4 victory.
Albert Ramos-Vinolas recovered from an 0-4 deficit in the deciding set on Wednesday to record the biggest win of his career over World No. 1 Andy Murray at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. In a disjointed match, featuring 13 service breaks, the Spanish No. 15 seed wore down the Scot on another sun-kissed day 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 over two hours and 33 minutes.
Ramos-Vinolas denied Murray, a three-time semi-finalist at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, the 100th clay-court match win of his career (99-44). The 29 year old now moves on to play fifth-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic, on Friday. Cilic leads Ramos-Vinolas 3-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
Earlier in the day, Cilic beat fellow Monte-Carlo resident Tomas Berdych, the ninth seed and 2015 runner-up, 6-2, 7-6(0) in two hours.
Novak Djokovic showcased the temperament of a champion on Thursday night just as victory in his third-round clash against Pablo Carreno Busta appeared to be eluding him at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
The second seed and two-time former champion saved two break points in a tense ninth game of the deciding set en route to a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 victory over No. 15 seed Carreno Busta, which lasted two hours and 26 minutes.
Djokovic will now prepare for a clash against 10th seed David Goffin of Belgium. The Serbian has lost just one set in five matches against Goffin and leads 5-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
Monaco resident Djokovic, who won the 2013 (d. Nadal) and 2015 (d. Berdych) titles, is looking to add to his 30 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns this week.
Earlier in the day, Goffin recorded his sixth victory in nine meetings against Dominic Thiem, the sixth seed, 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 15 minutes. Goffin fought back from a 2-5 deficit in the first set, having saving one set point with Thiem serving at 5-4, 40/30. Goffin, a runner-up in Sofia and Rotterdam this season, improves to a 22-7 match record in 2017.
Rafael Nadal didn’t give Alexander Zverev the birthday gift he desired the most on Thursday at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in a commanding 6-1, 6-1 third-round victory over 69 minutes. The Spanish superstar did little wrong against the 20-year-old #NextGenATP German as he improved to 60-4 lifetime at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, where he is attempting to lift a 10th trophy.
Nadal has a 367-34 clay-court match wins record, according to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone, with the best winning percentage (.915) of any player in the Open Era. The Mallorcan remains on course to lift a record 50th crown on red dirt this week and will next face Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman.
Nadal leads Schwartzman 2-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, but the pair has not met since the 2015 US Open. World No. 41 Schwartzman advanced to the last eight by saving all five break points he faced in a 6-3, 6-0 win over qualifier Jan-Lennard Struff, who had toppled eighth seed Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday night.
The quarter-finals have been locked in for doubles at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters after three teams recorded impressive victories on Thursday.
Third seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares scored a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 win over Tommy Haas and Treat Huey. The British-Brazilian duo didn’t face a break point en route to wrapping up the match in 59 minutes. Next up for them is the wild card pairing of Romain Arneodo and Hugo Nys.
Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez were just as dominant in their 6-4, 6-2 win over Florin Mergea and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi. The Spaniards now face fourth seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo for a spot in the semi-finals.
Rohan Bopanna and Pablo Cuevas scored the upset of the day with a comeback 6-7(6), 6-4, 10-6 win over fifth seeds Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram. Awaiting them in the quarter-finals are top seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers.
All quarter-final matches in Monte-Carlo will take place today. And here is the order of games for April 21:
Also tonight the traditional Great Tennis Night will be held in the luxury Salle des Etoiles of the Sporting Monte-Carlo to mark the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in the presence of sponsors and players of the tournament.
Check HelloMonaco daily and follow last updates from the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters 2017.