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      Rafa La Bamba
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      Tennis
      Feb 01, 2008 01:38:10 pm
      Who likes Tennis here? I'm not the biggest fan but now with the new stars shining it's getting better to watch.
      I admire the way Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic play. I think Nadal is a bit stuck up his own arse at times but Djokovic is just funny - watch this video

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=http://youtube.com/watch?v=QATdoMW8Jso
      « Last Edit: Feb 01, 2008 01:43:33 pm by Ra Ra Rafa »
      MsGerrard
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #1: Feb 01, 2008 04:03:00 pm
      I like to watch and play Tennis, only in the spring/summer though.....I prefer playing badminton, then tennis and then squash...

      Loved the impression of Roddick and Nadal ;D :lmao:
      Olliver
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #2: Feb 01, 2008 05:17:53 pm
      I watch only big matches of tennis though I can watch every match if it's interesting.
      I like Roger Federer though he lost to Djokovic in 1/2. He is very gifted player.

      I also love badminton. I remember when I was a child I spent whole summer days in the yard playing badminton. It was badminton fever those days: every child played badmiton. Those who had rackets were the starsThere were queues to play. Good memories.

      Table tennis is loved by me too.
      kelv78
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #3: Feb 01, 2008 06:32:24 pm
      I used to play a bit not to much nowadays the only tournament ill watch is Wimbledon.
      Bpatel
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #4: Feb 01, 2008 08:13:49 pm
      I love tennis; I like watching it although I'm not very good at playing.
      I also love badminton, I don't really watch it but I love playing it, I would say I'm quite good a player.

      I love the impressions!
      AJ
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #5: Apr 23, 2008 08:28:29 am
      Been keeping an eye on Andy Murray this week in the Monte Carlo Masters Tournament on clay.

      Here is the BBC commentary from his first two matches, I like Tom Fordyce for these as he has a great wit and allows the reader to feel as if they were there.  Murray is now through to the third round and will face Novak Djokovic, update to follow.
       
      Murray v Lopez as it happened
      Monte Carlo Masters

      First round result:

       A MURRAY (GB) 14 bt F Lopez (Spa)

      7-6 6-4

      Murray 6-4 Lopez
      Of course he won't. F-Lo saves one match point with a last-chance saloon blast on his forehand, but he nets with another and it's all over. Solid from the British number one on his clay court bow, and it'll be Italy's Filippo Volandri up next.

      Murray 5-4 Lopez
      Bottoms shift towards the edge of seats as F-Lo finally discovers his pluck and holds to love. Murray looks a touch edgy. Surely he won't...?

      Murray 5-3 Lopez
      Or are we? Lopez finds some fizzle at the bottom of the bottle and stuns Murray to break for the first time. No panic stations yet, but eyebrows are raised.

      Murray 5-2 Lopez
      Murray's best game of the match. With F-Lo looking to build on that tiny chance in the previous one, Murray unleashes two absolute rippers on his backhand - the second a devastating lob-pass. We're on the brink.

      Murray 4-2 Lopez
      Skinny surprise chance for F-Lo as a thoughtless Murray backhand goes long to set up a break point, but Murray lands two thumpers on first serve to clean up the mess.

      Murray 3-2 Lopez
      No second break, but Lopez has the confused look of a man trying to taste music. He calls for water at the changeover and slumps in his chair with a deep sigh.

      Murray 3-1 Lopez
      Lopez's forehand is as reliable as Pete Doherty. He gets to 30-30 but flops a limp one long, and Murray is cruising.

      Murray 2-1 Lopez
      Murray gets as over-ambitious as Oasis on Be Here Now as he tries a top-spin lob which flies straight out. F-Lo still doesn't look happy, though - he's all grimaces and heavy sighs out there.

      Murray 2-0 Lopez
      It's all happening for the leggy Scot - he holds in the blink of a hummingbird's eye, and F-Lo is wobbling like a pensioner on a windy pier.

      Murray 1-0 Lopez
      The sun slips behind a grey cloud as the two men stride back onto court. Who said Monte Carlo was perfect? Murray has clearly been drinking confidence juice at the changeover, however, as he comes out like a peak-era Mats Wilander and breaks immediately with a super forehand push-pass.

      FIRST SET

      Murray 7-6 Lopez
      Woeful mis-hit drop-shot from Murray puts him a mini-break down, but a lucky skip off the tape draws him level off F-Lo's first service point. Feliciano then goes long twice as a battle of backhand slices drives him insane, belts a forehand wide and looks to be out on his feet. He clings on to two service points but clouts a backhand out and Murray has his nose in front.

      Murray 6-6 Lopez
      Murray comes close to punching himself in the face with exasperation as he sets up a set point, only to blow it with a tepid forehand flap. A sensational lob takes him to deuce, but he throws away another chance and Lopez drives in three sizzling forehands to take us into the tie-break.

      Murray 6-5 Lopez
      Anything you can do, grumbles Murray, and holds to love in steely-eyed fashion. Bright sunshine as Lopez goes to his chair and buries his face in a bouncy towel.

      Murray 5-5 Lopez
      A sniff for Scotland's battler as he conjures up a miraculous stretchy backhand pass to go 0-30, only for Feliciano to streak through the next four points like a downhill rocket.

      Murray 5-4 Lopez
      Chance now for Murray as F-Lo goes to the changeover staring down the wrong end of a must-hold scenario. Small moment of drama as the umpire overules on a wide Lopez backhand and then leaps from his perch to show the Spaniard the smudge on the clay.

      From placey1 on 606: "I expect Murray to win this game and progress in the tournament, maybe beating a big name on the way, just to the point where I think he'll win the whole thing and so place a bet on him. He'll then feebly lose the next match."

      Murray 4-4 Lopez
      Murray getting very little joy on the F-Lo serve so far, and we couldn't be more level - both players have won 23 points apiece.

      Murray 4-3 Lopez
      Rapid-fire hold to love for Murray as the cushioned seats around Court Central are gradually sat upon by privileged rear-ends.

      Murray 3-3 Lopez
      First yell of self-disgust from Murray as a running pass is pushed wide. He recovers with a splendid run-down of an airy F-Lo drop-shot, but then runs round his forehand to punt a woeful backhand way long. Level pegs once again.

      Murray 3-2 Lopez
      You can't move for drop-shots here - Murray forces Lopez deeper and deeper and then slices a devious devil just over the tape. Lopez battles back to break point by stepping up the aggression and coming in to the net to punch away a volley, but Murray finds a howitzer of a first serve and then leaves the Spaniard thrashing feebly at an out-of-reach lobber.

      Murray 2-2 Lopez
      Murray starts to mix it up, raking a whsitling backhand cross-court for a winner and then throwing in another disguised dropper. F-Lo comes up with a creamy drop-shot of his own and then seals the game when Murray misjudges another.

      Murray 2-1 Lopez
      Mama Judy scratches her nose up in the stands as her son holds again despite going long with an easy forehand. Low-key atmosphere so far - clearly a lot going on in the principality on Monday mornings.

      Murray 1-1 Lopez
      Super overhead backhand smash from leftie F-Lo, and he moves Murray around nicely to hold with ease. Murray's left ankle is strapped up with a black support, but he's moving smoothly at the mo.

      Murray 1-0 Lopez
      Solid start from Murray, a cunning backhand slice leaving Lopez stranded beyond the baseline, and he wins his opening service game to 15. Rivals in football as well as tennis, these two - Murray rooting for Barcelona, Lopez for Real Madrid. Spicy.

      1131: Only one previous meeting between these two - a 7-5 6-2 cruise for Murray in Washington in 2006.

      1128: The players are out on court. Murray's in a light grey t-shirt with navy piping, baggy white shorts and a white Fred Perry cap with a long, curved peak. Feliciano has a tight-fitting white t-shirt, long blue shorts and a navy headband.

      1125 - from Alex DeLarge on 606: "Muzza should clinch it."

      1120: I shouldn't complain, really - at least I've been to Monte Carlo, albeit for about 45 minutes in a listing van with a man called Ben Dirs.

      Round Monaco in a campervan
      1115: Idyllic scenes in Monte Carlo, where a soft spring sunshine is gently warming the faces of the millionaires who can be bothered getting out of bed to watch the tennis.

      The bright orange of the cliff-top clay court stands out against the deep blue of the sparkling Mediterranean, and as a blossom-scented breeze ruffles tops of the pine trees, a brace of giggling ball-girls skip gaily down the tram-lines.

      Meanwhile in Shepherd's Bush, where I am watching this match on a large TV screen, a cold drizzle falls from a joyless grey sky. To my right stands a rubbish bin overflowing with the stinking detritus of the weekend shift, while on my left, a small Welshman slowly chews his way through a cold piece of margarined toast.



      Murray v Volandri as it happened 
      Monte Carlo Masters

      Second-round result:

      A MURRAY (GB) bt F Volandri (Ita)

      6-4 6-1

       
      SECOND SET

      Murray 6-4 6-1 Volandri
      There's still life in Volandri yet, as a smart volley which sets up two break-points shows. He sets up three more breaking opportunities before Murray finally comes up with some big serving to close out the match. Good win for Murray in the end, although he will need to step up a notch or two against third seed and friend Novak Djokovic on Thursday.

      Murray 6-4 5-1 Volandri
      After applauding him for his resilience earlier, I have to say Volandri has been inept in this second set, particularly on the backhand. And after Murray brilliantly scampers around, the Italian's forehand goes missing, a smash embarrassingly thudding into the net to hand Murray three more break-points. The first is taken and Murray is on the brink of securing a meeting with Djokovic.

      Murray 6-4 4-1 Volandri
      The words Jekyll and Hyde spring to mind. Murray serves up several more unforced errors to present Volandri a break-point only for the world number 42 to return in kind with some woeful efforts off the backhand.

      Murray 6-4 3-1 Volandri
      Rafael Nadal is an interested spectator. Or is he? He looks bored. He shouldn't be - Murray shows how to craft out a winning point with some patient play from the back of the court before he moves in to put away a volley. He finally realises what has looked obvious all along - if he stays in the point long enough Volandri will blunder. The Italian is broken to love and this shouldn't last much longer... should it?

      Murray 6-4 2-1 Volandri
      Murray continues to be maddeningly erratic. His radar is off for the first two points but then comes a classy backhand under pressure, only for him to float a drop-shot into the net. Break-point for Volandri but the 14th seed does enough to win the game.

      Murray 6-4 1-1 Volandri
      Anaemic serving and all-round play from Volandri gifts Murray two break-points. He saves the first with a near-miraculous drop-shot after a breathless rally and a pummelling backhand rescues the second. Murray is long and wide with a couple of shots to reprieve his beleaguered opponent.

      Murray 6-4 1-0 Volandri
      It's quite clear Volandri has no real attacking strategy here and just chipping the ball back hands Murray enough opportunities to ease through the opening game.

      FIRST SET

      Murray 6-4 Volandri
      This is Groundhog Day stuff. Murray mixes blistering winners with rushed errors again. However, a brilliant forehand pass and two mistakes from Volandri secure the set for Murray. Inconsistent he may have been but the British number one will be reasonably content.

      Murray 5-4 Volandri
      Terrific volleying from Murray has Volandri stumbling around desperately. He clearly has more weapons in his armoury but wily old Volandri is an object lesson for the young Scot in how to bide your time in points.

      "Murray is infuriating when it comes to wasting break points....Still all is looking decent so far from Andy."
      TABCCS on 606

      Murray 4-4 Volandri
      Murray mutters away, clearly unhappy with that last game. Both players are making more mistakes now and Corretja looks far from impressed. But Murray raises the bar with a fantastic backhand drop-shot to force another break-point, only to go long. Volandri hangs in there to see out the game but it's untidy stuff.

      Murray 4-3 Volandri
      Volandri hits back immediately with a tremendous backhand volley and cross-court forehand which forces a Murray error to give the Italian break-point. Murray nets his forehand and we're back on serve.

      Murray 4-2 Volandri
      Murray piles on the pressure with some fierce forehands and Volandri cracks, yielding three break-points and firing wide with a backhand on the first.

      Murray 3-2 Volandri
      No real drama so far but Murray does look a tad impatient at times, trying to finish points in a hurry - precisely what his clay-court guru Alex Corretja is trying to iron out.

      Murray 2-2 Volandri
      Quality play as Murray produces a clever lob only for Volandri to somehow come up with a backhand volley on the stretch. He won't be a pushover.

      "Paresh Soni = I snap horse. Fascinating, huh? Prediction, Paresh? Murray in straight sets for me."
      James Manning on 606

      Not much to say on your first observation James but Murray's looking good so far. I agree with your prediction.

      Murray 2-1 Volandri
      Murray's again in control at the net and from the back of the court as he holds with no bother. Early days though.

      Murray 1-1 Volandri
      Murray clearly doesn't fancy the idea of long rallies here and unleashes some real aggression in his groundstrokes. A mistake from Volandri hands him a break-point but the Italian responds with a booming forehand of his own to save it.

      Murray 1-0 Volandri
      Good start for Murray. The first serve functions well and there are several deft volleys and drop-shots to secure the first game.

      1440: The winner takes on third seed Novak Djokovic, who had few problems seeing off Ivan Ljubicic 6-3 6-3 in the previous match on court.

      1433: Murray lost to Volandri in Rome two years ago and had an even more painful encounter with him at the Hamburg Masters last year. Leading 5-1 in the first set, he hurt his right wrist and was forced to miss the French Open and Wimbledon. He insists there are no scars left over from that day.

      1429: Volandri's been around for more than a decade and has stacks of experience on clay. To be frank, it's the only surface he's happy on and had any success on, winning two ATP tour titles in St Poelten (2004) and Palermo (2006). His Andy Warhol moment came at the Rome Masters last year when he beat a chap called Roger Federer in straight sets in the last 16 and then, quite rightly, went on a lap of honour, doing high-fives with spectators.

      1423: Hello and welcome to Andy Murray goes to Monte Carlo Part II. It was a fairly straightforward win for the British number one over Feliciano Lopez on Monday. This time he's up against 26-year-old Italian Filippo Volandri, who's ranked 42 in the world.


      Tayls
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #6: Apr 23, 2008 05:26:35 pm
      Djokovic is so funny. I like Nadal but that impression is hilarious. See if you can find his Federer and Sharapova ones too, they're too funny.

      After Murray, Nadal is probably my favourite, I always root for him when him and Fed face off. The contrast between those two at Wimbledon last year was funny, with Federer in his custom made white suit and Nadal in his pirate shorts and tank top.
      crouchinho
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #7: May 03, 2008 02:39:17 pm
      I used to play at the Sydney International Tennis Centre and trained with the likes of Wally Masuer ( Aussie legend ). Reason for my fitness levels. Quit because they take any passion you have for the game out. Dont follow it quite as much anymore although i have always been a fan of Nadal being a lefty myself and Djokovic because any man who beats Federer instantly shoots up the ranks in my books ;D
      redkenny
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #8: Jun 24, 2008 07:27:50 pm
      Anyone been watching Wimbledon? It has actually helped me get through the lack of football. This Murray game has been a good one and it's not over yet. Murray's two sets up though.
      7-King Kenny-7
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #9: Jun 24, 2008 07:41:33 pm
      Did anyone watch the nadal match today? if so did you see him flick the tennis ball up with his feet?...it was quality

      with skills like that maybe we should sign him :D
      Bpatel
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #10: Jun 25, 2008 09:28:23 am
      Nadal is one of my favourite tennis players. I want either him or Djockovic to win.

      Djockovic also does great impressions of other players.  :D
      RedScouseLaz
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #11: Jun 25, 2008 09:38:31 am
      I used to play quite often, havnt now for a while because i have other things to do.

      Whether you like tennis or not, be sure to catch Sharapova's matches ;)

      Magillionare
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #12: Jun 25, 2008 12:09:33 pm
      Always been a djokavic fan, hope he wins wimbildon this year :D
      MsGerrard
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #13: Jun 25, 2008 04:59:54 pm
      Always been a djokavic fan, hope he wins wimbildon this year :D

      He's not going to this year...........He's been knocked out in straight sets by Marat Safin.  :o
      Magillionare
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #14: Jun 25, 2008 05:06:21 pm
       :f_wah: novac why why!

      hmmm im goin to have to go for hewitt then (and dont tell me he's out aswell  :f_doh:)
      MsGerrard
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #15: Jun 25, 2008 05:43:05 pm
      I think Nadal will win it to be honest, have you seen those muscles in his arms  ;D
      redkenny
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #16: Jun 25, 2008 06:14:24 pm
      I think Nadal will win it to be honest, have you seen those muscles in his arms  ;D

      Do you like any sports where you can't see any flesh on the men young lady?  :D

      I reckon Federer will win it again. He's out for revenge against Nadal from a few weeks ago.
      MsGerrard
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #17: Jun 25, 2008 06:43:21 pm
      Do you like any sports where you can't see any flesh on the men young lady?  :D

      I reckon Federer will win it again. He's out for revenge against Nadal from a few weeks ago.

       :lmao: Ha ha Kenny........my favourite sport is sumo wrestling  :lmao: :laugh:


      Federer is the master, fantastic Tennis player, could it be him and Nadal in the final? Yeah Kenny I saw that game, Rafa whooped his arse didn't he  ;)
      7-King Kenny-7
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #18: Jun 25, 2008 06:48:50 pm
      my favourite sport is sumo wrestling  :lmao: :laugh:

      Each to their own :D
      MsGerrard
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #19: Jun 25, 2008 06:53:20 pm

      I was joking 7- King Kenny  ;)
      aw1
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #20: Jun 25, 2008 07:32:34 pm
      I think Nadal will win the mens and Sharapova for the ladies.My two favourite tennis players are Nadal for his sheer strenght,determination and sublime skill and Sharapova well........ for obvious reasons ;)
      MsGerrard
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #21: Jun 25, 2008 10:15:06 pm
      I don't like Sharapova, she's a very good tennis player,  but boy does she know it .... I can't stand the way she 'grunts' around the court, I always turn the sound down when I'm watching her  I think she's a bit of a spoilt brat, and she's got an evil look.
      I admire her as a tennis player though.

      I hope Ana Ivanovic wins , she's the number one seed, although she struggled to beat Nathalie Dechy today.
      7-King Kenny-7
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #22: Jun 25, 2008 11:35:27 pm
      I can't stand the way she 'grunts' around the court, I always turn the sound down when I'm watching her.

      Sounds like she should be in bed rather than on a tennis court ;)


      I put my money on Nadal and Serena winning
      MsGerrard
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #23: Jun 25, 2008 11:40:15 pm
      Sounds like she should be in bed rather than on a tennis court ;)





       :lmao: :lmao:  :laugh:
      7-King Kenny-7
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #24: Jun 26, 2008 05:56:44 pm
      Nadal had to battle for victory.

      Sharapova should be ashamed of her self, she had a shocker and got beaten but someone outide the top 100 :lmao:
      AJ
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #25: Jul 01, 2008 01:16:11 pm
      Anyone catch Murray's crazy match last night?

      that was one wild match alright! Murray came back from 2 sets DOWN to win 7-5 6-3 6-7 (7-3) 2-6 4-6 in a four hour epic battle.  Can he now go all the way and beat Nadel in the quarters?
      Full run down:

      Gasquet 4-6 Murray
      Driving forehand from Murray - 15-0. And then - why? woeful drop-shot to throw away a point. Big serve out wide, Gas crashes into the net - 30-15. Massive ace. We're on the brink. Chaos. Big serve down the middle - he's done it! Gasquet barely swings his racquet, the ball clatters frame and dies, and Centre Court goes ripe bananas.

      Murray reels backwards, opens his mouth wide and screams at the black sky above. The entire crowd is on its feet, applauding their palms to blisters, while Gasquet trudges to his chair a broken man. If this match isn't the one which wins the British public over to Murray, he might as well retire.

      Gasquet 4-5 Murray
      Is that Gasquet floater wide? It is - 0-15 - but then Murray goes wide with two of his own. With the lights blazing on the scoreboard, he forces Gas wide and the Frenchman tips his backhand into the net. Murray dashes in to a lame dropper and thrashes it away - match point. Come on, come on... but Gasquet rushes in behind a big first serve and creams the volley home. Murray throws up a lob at deuce and Gasquet produces a ridiculous overhead backhand smash. Shot of the day, followed by a booming serve. This will be the last game we have tonight, whatever happens...

      Gasquet 3-5 Murray
      It's genuinely hard to see things from up here, but let's lean forward and squint it out together. Murray dumps an overhead into the net from about three inches away but stiffens his resolve with steely fortitude, volleying nervelessly to move within four points of a remarkable win. Hold onto your keyboards.

      Gasquet 3-4 Murray
      The Frenchman laces a weary backhand wide - what's he got left in the Gas-tank? At 30-30 he pops away a volley reminiscent of his first-set form, but Murray is hunting him down with relentless, cold-eyed hunger - break point as Gasquet sends another backhand into the tape. Is that an ace? There's a challenge - it is, by the width of millipede's shoelace. Deuce - and after Gas creams linewards, another as Murray goes for the killer drop-shot/lobber combo. Bellows from middle-aged ladies around Centre as Gasquet balloons a forehand long to ship another break point - he then dinks in a drop-shot, and Murray can't scrape it up and over. What he can do is breeze a backhand winner down the line, but a follow-up goes needlessly long. Goodness. Gas double-faults again before whipping a forehand into the corner to go to advantage, and an ace down the middle saves his bruised bacon.

      Properly dark out there now - we're three hours 46 minutes into this game, and Murray leaps out of his chair as the changeover ends - he's got to finish this soon or we'll be back in the morrow...

      Gasquet 2-4 Murray
      Cantering service hold from Murray, topped off with a booming thrasher of an ace. He turns to the crowd and waves his arms at them in a "Come on!" gesture. What more does he want - a court invasion?

      Gasquet 2-3 Murray
      Those Aussies from earlier have now jumped on board the Murray Express - chants of "Let's go Murray, let's go!" ring out from underneath green and gold Afros. Gas drills a racey forehand into the corner to stay within a break.

      Gasquet 1-3 Murray
      Rock-solid hold from Murray.- crashing forehands down the line as Gasquet chases desperately. Every point is being cheered like the match-winner.

      Gasquet 1-2 Murray
      You get the sense that this could be a tipping-point for Murray in his relationship with the British public - it's been a little lukewarm until now, but the reception for him out there is on par with anything Tim Henman enjoyed. Not sure Tim ever snarled like an angry hyena as Murray is, though.

      Gasquet 0-2 Murray
      You knew there would be swings to come, but this is stomach-churning - Murray's breezing along at 30-0, but three unforced errors on the trot give Gas fresh hope - a chance to break back immediately. Murray top-spins right and left off his forehand and saves the day - and when Gas goes wide and Andy aces, the break is maintained. Gasquet goes to the umpire to complain about the light, but he's clutching at well-lit straws - I can make out the detail on a woman's hat 40 metres away..

      Gasquet 0-1 Murray
      Gasquet was relentless in the first two and a half sets - he barely missed a shot. He's now pinging sitters wide and being dragged around court by Murray like an errant toddler on a Sunday trip round Ikea. Gas goes wide to bring round a deuce and double-faults with weak knees, but dashes in to the tape to pop away a saving volley. But what's that? His once-dreamy backhand has become a nightmare, and he flails wide to give Murray another break point - wasted with a weak return. The pattern repeats to the crowd's anguish, and another time too - five break points - and then, finally, Murray taps away a nerveless block-volley to snatch a brilliant break.

      It was pandemonium already - you couldn't hear yourself type even before that break...

      FOURTH SET

      Gasquet 2-6 Murray
      Well well. When Gasquet was two sets up and 5-3 in the third set, who possibly imagined that we'd be going into a decider? Murray slams his way through his service game like a runaway Flying Scotsman, and Gas staggers off to the toilets with the lop-sided look of a man who's downed eight pints in eight minutes.

      Gasquet 2-5 Murray
      Murray tears into Gas like a ravenous lion, pinging inch-perfect drives into left and right corners. Mexican waves roll around the arena as Gas flops a backhand into the train-tracks - it's another break, and we're staring down the barrel of a five-setter now...

      Gasquet 2-4 Murray
      Ear-splitting chaos as Murray holds to 30, scraping past a dicey moment with forehand wallop. Light fading out there, but anyone who tries to stop this could find themselves torn into 15,000 pieces.

      Gasquet 2-3 Murray
      I'm genuinely sorry you aren't here to see this - both players are now battling it out at close to the very top of their games, in front of a Centre Court crowd who would chew their own hands off rather than leave.

      Gasquet 1-3 Murray
      Things have been turned on their head to such an extent that even the Aussie fans, still in here and awake in sweaty gold t-shirts after Lleyton Hewitt's exit earlier, are now cheering on the Briton. Murray holds to maintain the breakage.

      Gasquet 1-2 Murray
      How's about that - Murray, a man transformed, breezes to 15-40. Kim Sears's eyes are out on happy stalks. Murray then barrells down the tram-tracks and he's broken him. Delirium in the gloaming.

      Gasquet 1-1 Murray
      Two hours 50 minutes now, and Murray's showing zero sign of flaggage. Big serves, solid hold.

      Gasquet 1-0 Murray
      Slightly anti-climatic hold from Gasquet, Murray aiming some death-or-glory winners down both sides and missing with wild-eyed over-enthusiasm.

      THIRD SET

      Gasquet 6-7 Murray
      Right then - what can Murray produce at the moment of truth? Gas runs to the tape behind a deep backhand but clanks a backhand volley wide, and when Murray volleys with righteous fury to his right it's 4-0. Deafening roars fill the warm evening air. Gas sends down a blitzer and the complete opposite - a dropper as delicate as butterfly's sneeze - but Murray runs with inspired speed to flick away a backhand winner and move to 5-3. Gas drills a return netwards - 6-3 - and Murray then runs almost into the front row to fetch an impossible backhand past an astonished Gas to take the set.

      What a comeback - in this set at least - and Murray howls at the gods as the stands erupt. Murray looked to have one foot in the grave there, but now he's right back in the mix. How will Gasquet react?

      Gasquet 6-6 Murray
      Oohs from the crowd as a Murray cross-court blocker just drifts long at 30-30. Gas, however, is showing the first tiny signs of mental wobbliness and thrashes a forehand into the divider. Murray then leans into a double-handed backhand and hammers it down the line. When Gas sends a shaky forehand long Murray screams with delight, but two long rakers go long. It's a tie-break...

      Gasquet 5-6 Murray
      Gasquet's backhand could make grown men cry - it's either the most beautiful or the cruellest weapon you've ever seen, depending on which side of the net you're on. Murray rides a wave of adrenaline to 40-15 but is dragged to deuce by the ferocity of the Gas groundstrokes. Murray throws in two high-risk droppers - to take the advantage, but another dropper - the stinker - blows it to howls of derision. Every game is now a mini-epic, and Gas keeps it squeaky with a forehand ripper down the line - but he prods a defensive forehand long, and the crowd celebrate as if Murray had just declared the invention of a car than runs on water.

      Gasquet 5-5 Murray
      Gas charges behind a first serve and can only frame a rapid return into the crowd. Murray goes down the line with another and sends the crowd into a frenzy with a clean winner for 0-40 and three break-back points. A 133mph ace damps the excitement, a soft-hands volley makes it 30-40 but then - remarkably - Gas double-faults to hand back the break. That couldn't be the start of something, could it? Could it?

      Gasquet 5-4 Murray
      Brilliant from Gasquet - dreamy nonchalance of both sides to leave Murray teetering at 15-40. A big first boomer sliced away by Murray saves one, his best volley of the match - deep off the backhand right into the corner - saves the second. Gas then floats a lob into dreamland, rips a backhand down the line, brings Murray in with a cheeky dropper and sizzles cross-court to snatch the break at the key time. Magnifique from the Frenchman - with your neutral hat on, he's been a happy joy to watch.

      Gasquet 4-4 Murray
      Utterly untroubled, Le Gas. He wins that service match to love. Where's Murray going to get this break from?

      Gasquet 3-4 Murray
      Nervy patrons stand and stretch after Murray clatters his way through a service game to 15. Judy Murray watches on with narrowed eyes.

      Gasquet 3-3 Murray
      38 winners now from Gasquet - Murray's taken so much punishment he's almost walking around as holey a a colander. It's 40-15 a toute vitesse and a barrelling serve down the middle polishes it off. Murray looking shell-shocked and shaky.

      Gasquet 2-3 Murray
      Six double-faults now from Murray - his first serve has been an absolute car-crash this evening. Gas has a breaker and looks to have it in le sac - only for Murray's tame backhand stab to land on the tape and roll cruelly into the Frenchman's box. Murray is then caught in two minds as Gas tries to pass him, half-pulling his racquet out of the way but too late to avoid catching frame, but he roars like William Wallace as a smasher cannons down and up away into the Royal Box. A toff waves a patrician palm but fails to take the catch. Skiddy slice from Gas forces Murray to waft long, a sitting duck of a second serve gives Gas a fourth break point but Murray stays wristily strong at the net to slam away a backhand volley. A teetering drop-shot gives Murray game point and a throaty roar erupts as Gasquet's stabbed backhand falls into the net.

      Gasquet 2-2 Murray
      It's 40-0 in the time it takes to say "Zut alors" as Murray shakes his head in disbelief at the Gas guzzling. Judy Murray looks as happy as a novice nun on a stag-do in Magaluf.

      Gasquet 1-2 Murray
      A man in a plastic Union flag bowler hat scratches his chin pensively as Murray winds up his first serve. Only landing 51% of his first serves, the Scot, and with his second dribbling over at an average of 87mph he's leaving the fridge door open for Gasquet to come nibbling.

      Gasquet 1-1 Murray
      Just a tiny strip of sunlight left in the corner of the browning court as Gasquet muscles down two more thumpers of first serves. He's definintely added wallop to that serve in the last year, and Murray can't dent it. You've barely heard a full Centre Court this quiet - it's like a public library when the shutters have come down.

      Gasquet 0-1 Murray
      Dear oh dear - Murray flops a mis-hit backhand into the net to ship another break point. He escapes with a meaty forehand and clattering volley, but the omens are woeful.

      SECOND SET

      Gasquet 6-3 Murray
      When Gas misses down the line Murray gets going at 0-15 - and a drop-shot as delicate as a hummingbird's eyelash brings up 0-30. Shouts ring out. Gas then slips up through the gears, brings up set point with a driller backhand and only misses out when a reaching forehand meets tape. Murray can only net a stretching forehand - but then Gas puts a backhand into the top of the net to relieved applause. He charges the net behind his serve and slaps away a forehand volley for a third set point, but Murray dictates it beautifully and nervelessly with toppy forehands to drag it back to deuce. Gasquet repeats the volley trick, this time on his backhand, and Murray is then called for a code violation for using the language of a salty sea-dog to a line-judge. When Gas strolls in to whip away a forehand winner the set is his, and Murray is in it deep.

      Gasquet 5-3 Murray
      Murray holds to stay alive. Break needed - and he's only had one break-point on the Gas serve all match. Fingers crossed all around me.

      Gasquet 5-2 Murray
      For a man with a reputation for being a touch wobbly up top, Gasquet is looking remarkably equitable out there. Murray's started cursing at the heavens. His dad Willie watches on impassively from behind large shades.

      Gasquet 4-2 Murray
      That's more like it on the Murray serve - a couple of crunchers. Still little sniff of the break-back and even Kim seems to have left. Courtesy break, I'm told.

      Gasquet 4-1 Murray
      Shadows now stretching across three-quarters of Centre Court as Gas takes aim with the new balls. At 15-30 Murray tries a dinker down the line but misses by two inches. A 129mph Gas smasher out wide is unreachable but the first break point on the Gas serve comes out when Murray volleys crisply down the line. The crowd shift to the edge of seats but Gas brutalises a first serve at Murray's snout and he can only flail his return into the net. Groans fill the air. Gas puts his foot down and accelerates to the changeover with shoulder-shrugging indifference.

      Gasquet 3-1 Murray
      Gas is marching round court, baseball cap back to front, very much the cock of the walk. Murray's first serve is looking as flaky as a stale sausage roll - Gas is now taking the second serve several strides inside the baseline, and a casual doozy of a backhand cross-court brings up deuce.A better pair of forehands from Murray save the day and keep him vaguely in the match. A nervous woman in a rakish tam o'shanter picks at her nails nervously.

      Gasquet 3-0 Murray
      A succession of panicked "Come on Andy!"s ring out - the first a high-pitched squeak, the second an angrier male bellow. Gasquet drills in two crunchers of first serves and Murray, having lost lost four games on the bounce, is reeling.

      Gasquet 2-0 Murray
      The Murray drop-shot is like barometer of his game - he flails two woeful wobblers into the net and follows them up with a miserable double-fault. Two break points - and when he leaves Gasquet with a slow looper mid-court, the Frenchman flips a backhand winner away. Very quiet on Centre Court.

      Gasquet 1-0 Murray
      Gasquet clambers all over Murray to race to 40-15, as a worried silence falls over Centre. There's a revival of sorts as a beefy backhand drive leaves the Frenchman nowhere, but Le Gas turns on the heat to polish him off. There's a chap in the crowd wearing the Federer cardigan and RF baseball cap, looking rather pleased with himself. Although hot.

      FIRST SET

      Gasquet 7-5 Murray
      Anxious shouts echo round the famous old rafters as Murray slams a forehand wide to wobble at 15-40. He then double-faults horribly to offer up two sets points, saves one with a Red Cross ace and somehow reaches a Gasquet drop-shot despite starting from five feet behind the baseline. Deuce. Gas then backhands him into brutal submission to set up another break point, but sensational scampering forces Gas to dump his set-winner of a volley into the net. A rock-solid first serve at 131mph holds Gas at bay before a ripper of a forehand cross-court brings up break-pointer no.5 - and when Murray lifts a simple volley wide, the set has gone.

      Brilliant from Gasquet in that key game - the crowd can't believe it's gone, and in a match this tight you fear for what that capitulation might mean.

      Gasquet 6-5 Murray
      The crowd couldn't be more rapt here. Gas fumes with Gallic moodiness as Murray out-slugs him from the baseline to go to 0-15, but another jaws-agape backhand pass turns the game around. Murray to serve to stay in the set. Two old ladies court-side have their floppy sun-hats pulled so low that they almost need eye-holes sewn into the brims.

      Gasquet 5-5 Murray
      Lucky bananas for Murray at 30-30 - with his first serve gone wonky, he drills a forehand at the tape and watches helplessly as it drops on Gasquet's side. Breath whistles through teeth around Centre. Gas then puts a backhand pass marginally into the train-tracks, fails with the Hawk-Eye challenge and we're level.

      Gasquet 5-4 Murray
      Gas could probably paint portraits with that backhand, so skilful with it is he. He flips a top-spinner deep before dinking a slicey drop-shot to move to 40-15, and when Murray drifts a forehand long he moves le nez in front. That one actually looked like it clipped the line, but Murray has already tossed away all four of his challenges - he lost the first one he went for, and frittered the rest away slightly sulkily.

      Gasquet 4-4 Murray
      There's the drop-shot dilemma for Murray - one leaves Gas flailing in the distance but the second curls and dies into the net. Two crunching serves give him advantage, but a flopsy second serve is drilled back at pace and Murray can only clunk it into the net. When Gasquet whooshes one of his killer backhands down the line he has break point, but Murray shocks him by coming to the net behind a second serve to punch away the volley. Gas then over-reaches with his overhead to a Murray lob and the Brit battler is off the hook. Nervous times.

      Gasquet 4-3 Murray
      You can't slide a cigarette paper between these two. Murray forehands with sweet timing to get to 30-30, only for Le Gas to pop away a volley that would have pleased Boris.

      Gasquet 3-3 Murray
      The shadow from the Centre Court roof stretches almost to Murray's feet as he leaps into his serve and batters one down the middle. Warm applause from the crowd, led by a woman with reddish hair wearing a Scottish saltire as a make-shift scarf.

      Gasquet 3-2 Murray
      Murray's glamourpuss ladyfriend Kim Sears leans forward in her VIP seat as a weak Gas forehand plops into the net to make it 30-30, but a hammering ace from the Frenchman saves the day. It also catches a female line-judge just under the chin. With old-fashioned British pluck she laughs it off, before blinking away the tears as soon as the cameras are off her.

       

      Gasquet 2-2 Murray
      Great gambling from Murray at 15-30 - a casually tossed-in drop-shot which brings Gas scampering in before a forehead lob completes the job. He then runs round his backhand and drills a flat forehand cross-court to seal the game. A woman in a crimson blouse scratches her arms with the scary vigour of a flea-bothered hound.

      Gasquet 2-1 Murray
      If you haven't seen the Gasquet backhand before, it's a thing of delicate wonder - the sort of shot that makes you think tennis is the easiest game in the world. A ripper down the line leaves Murray stretching into nothingness.

      Gasquet 1-1 Murray
      Hello - there's Cliff Richard, the first time he's been spotted at this year's tournament, wearing a powder-blue blazer with dark blue tie. Rather prim look on his chops as Murray sizzles a whippy forehand cross-court to get himself on the board.

      Gasquet 1-0 Murray
      Groans from the crowd as Murray duffs a backhand volley into the net and boots the rebounding ball back into the divider. Gasquet creams one of his dreamy backhands down the line and Murray simmers.

      1729: A little pre-match stattage for you: Murray's played Gasquet twice before, and he lost them both. On the bright side, Murray is on a six-match winning streak against Frenchmen. I quite like that last one.

      1724: Giddy applause from the eager patrons as the two players stroll onto court. Murray produces a plastic bag containing six enormous bottles of blackcurrant squash and dumps it at the feet of a ball-boy.

      1720: Some chat from TIm Henman as he banters with Sue Barker: "I like Andy's attitude. He believes he can win every game he plays."

       

      1715: A lot of pinking shoulders around Centre Court today - it's a burner of a sun up ahead today, but the cooling breeze has fooled some tennis-focused punters. Not textbook.

      1710: Now then - this is a match, eh? Apparently Murray prepared for this clash by going out for an Italian meal last night with Mama Judy, bro Jamie (with his newly-shaved head) and his granny and grandad, before watching the Euro 2008 final. Textbook
      Bpatel
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #26: Jul 01, 2008 01:24:50 pm
      I watched Murray's game. He played really, really well. I kinda felt sorry for Gasquet though.

      But i doubt he will beat Nadal in the next round. Nadal is too strong for him.
      7-King Kenny-7
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #27: Jul 01, 2008 02:16:45 pm
      I think Nadal will be too much for Murray, i have a feeling this will be Nadal's year.
      Magillionare
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #28: Jul 01, 2008 02:24:14 pm
      I wanted gasquet to win so i did, i think that Murrey maybe embarrased by Nadal in all truth
      redkenny
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      Re: Tennis
      Reply #29: Jul 01, 2008 04:17:24 pm
      That was some match for the spectator yesterday! I seen the first set, then had a few things to do. Started watching again from the third set. Couldn't believe it was still going by 9pm.

      He might actually give Nadal a bit of a game, but I reckon Nadal will be just too good in the end.

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