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The match between Gonzalez and Murray was a fascinating contest between the savage power of Gonzalez and the skill & nous of Murray. Point after point, rally after rally reinforced this and there was remarkably little to separate the two. The first set started off with players holding serve not without difficulty as each probed the others game to see how best to tackle it tactically. A couple of unforced error from Murray in the 8th game proved to be the difference, handing Gonzalez the lone break in a 6-3 set. The second set was a similar story, but this time Gonzalez playing the loose game and Murray taking the set 6-3. Murray even through the second set was constantly harried by Gonzalez never having an easy hold.
This trend continued into the third and Gonzalez broke Murray to take an early lead. This allowed Gonzalez the comfort to swing with freedom and he went on a roll overwhelming a frustrated Murray to take the set without giving up a single game. The 4th set saw Murray hanging tough as GonzalezÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â continued to poundÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â his forehand and give himself chances on the Murray serve.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â In the all important 8th game though, Murray's resistance was finally broken. Two marvelous backhands down-the-line saved consecutive breakpoints but a final devastating forehand by Gonzalez gave him the break. In a bizarre streak of events, Murray broke right back to love to survive and then incredibly lost his serve to love to send Gonzo through. In the final analysis, Gonzalez' murderous forehand made the difference as Murray try as he might, never found a solution to that particular problem.
Dinara Safina had to dig deep to overcome the greatest challenge she has faced this year at Roland Garros. Victoria Azarenka began by giving Safina a taste of her own medicine - breaking Safina in the opening game and then continuing to establish her dominance over the Russian favourite breaking her thrice in taking the opening set in just 23 minutes. The Belarussian starlet was able to exploit the one chink in Safina's armor - despite her efforts, Safina when compared to the fleet-footed Azarenka was just about as nimble as an elephant in a stupor. In addition, Safina's shots while powerful were being tracked down with ease by Azarenka and being returned with interest. The icing on the cake was Azarenka's superior touch with the soft balls as she played exquisite drop shots and winning the rare exchange at the net. Azarenka till now had been playing in a bubble. That bubble was well and truly popped as a concerted effort by Safina aided by a couple of double faults at game point by Azarenka allowed Safina to go up 2-1 and then 4-1 in the second set. At this stage Safina was finding her range, hitting the ball harder and deeper while Azarenka clearly was losing her cool, bouncing her racquet in a style reminiscent of her opponent's brother. "Anything you can do, I can do better" says Safina, serves consecutive double faults and doesn't just bounce her racquet but smashes it in a manner that would have made Safin proud. Azarenka took advantage of that loss of temper and leveled the set at 4-4. Safina though steadied the ship with great resolve and a better structuring of her rallies to break Azarenka again, and soon leveled the match at a set apiece. The final set was a battle of mental stability and with Azarenka losing the battle to frustration, Safina stayed composed & focused and gobbled the set up to become the first woman to reach the semi finals.
Diminutive Dominika Cibulkova brought to an end Sharapova's fighting run at Roland Garros. Sharapova has struggled this year, and has been taken to 3 sets in each of her previous rounds. The fatigue and the fact that this was only her second tournament in 10 months, finally caught up with her, as she bowed out in straight sets. Cibulkova for her part would be well pleased with her effort and undoubtedly will look forward to her first slam semifinal.
23 min first set demolitions while common in the women's game are far less frequent in the men's. They are even less frequent in the quarterfinals. Of course, when you're Robin Soderling and have just beaten Nadal, nothing seems impossible and Davydenko faced the brunt of it. The second set seemed to resemble a contest until Soderling pulled away at the end breaking Kolya twice to take it 6-3. The third set was a repeat of the first, 2 more breaks of serve and Soderling hastened the ending winning 6-1, 6-3, 6-1. Robin Soderling broke Kolya 6 times and was bullet proof on his own serve facing just 2 break points all match and wiping away both of them. He also hit 38 winners to just 16 by his opponent to seal the victory and reach his first ever slam semi.
Preview for tomorrow:
Roger Federer takes on Monfils in a repeat of last year's semi final and Serena Williams plays Kuznetsova in the big name match ups tomorrow. Powerful Del Potro takes on veteran Tommy Robredo in the other men's quarterfinal and two relative unknowns at this stage Sam Stosur and Sorana Cirstea battle for their first semifinal spot.
F.Gonzalez d A.Murray 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, 6-4
R.Soderling d N.Davydenko 6-1, 6-3, 6-1
D.Safina d V.Azarenka 1-6, 6-4, 6-2
D.Cibulkova d M.Sharapova 6-0, 6-2
File Photograph Copyright: MadridÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â Open
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- 03/06/2009 22:30 - Federer makes 20th straight slam semi at French Open