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Murray’s joy as Gasquet crumbles

Andy Murray has said he had taken inspiration from his epic Wimbledon fightback against Richard Gasquet two years ago after producing a repeat performance in their French Open first-round clash.

Murray's nightmare draw looked like living up to its billing when Gasquet led by two sets and a break on Suzanne Lenglen Court yesterday afternoon.

But, as in their last meeting in the fourth round at SW19 almost two years ago, the infamously fragile Frenchman suffered a spectacular collapse as fourth seed Murray won 4-6 6-7 (5/7) 6-4 6-2 6-1 in four hours and four minutes.

Murray said: “It's obviously not the best position to be in, but it does help when you've come back against him in the past from a similar situation.

“I wasn't returning well and that was the one big, big change in my game from that point onwards. I started making a lot more, something I'm going to make sure I do well for the remainder of the tournament if I want to go deep.

“I lost my serve three or four times today in a five-set match and I hadn't broken serve for two-and-a-half sets, which wasn't great.”

Once Murray did finally break Gasquet in the third set, he was able to do so almost at will as the Frenchman surrendered his serve on six more occasions.

Murray's fellow 23-year-old began to tire and had treatment on the left leg injury he suffered winning his first ATP tournament for three years in Nice on Saturday.

Gasquet was desperate not to play so soon after what was his 10th straight win but his pleas to get yesterday's match postponed until today fell on deaf ears.

Had it been moved, it could have meant the victor having to play twice in two days at some point in the tournament.

Murray had little sympathy for his opponent's plight, saying: “I like Richard a lot but I think that's not a valid excuse at all.

“They moved the finals of the tournaments the week before the slams to the Saturday.

“If the guys have to play on the Monday then they have to do that.

“You're bound to be tired, but I don't see why I should have to be punished by having to play two days in a row if we move to Tuesday and we have the same match like we did today.

“By the time I'm actually leaving here, it's after 10 o'clock.”

The match itself also was not without controversy, with Murray complaining bitterly to Carlos Ramos after losing the second set that Gasquet was holding up play.

“Every single game in the match bar one, he's stopped me when I'm ready,” he moaned at the time.

Gasquet shrugged off his opponent's gripe, joking he could not hear what Murray was saying: “I didn't hear. English for me, it's hard. So Murray, Scottish, impossible for me to understand.”

Roger Federer began the defence of his title yesterday with a comfortable victory over world number 71 Peter Luczak.

The Swiss star was rarely troubled in a 6-4 6-1 6-2 victory on court Philippe Chatrier that sets up a second-round match with Colombia's Alejandro Falla.

World number one Federer hailed the match as the “perfect” opener to what he hopes will be a two-week stay at Roland Garros. Number three seed Novak Djokovic survived a second-set wobble to defeat Evgeny Korolev. 6-1 3-6 6-1 6-3.

Belfast Telegraph