Murray struggles, complains, wins at French Open

Howard Fendrich
Associated Press

Paris — Entertaining as his French Open quarterfinal might have been, Andy Murray hardly enjoyed the experience.

“When you’re out there,” Murray said, “I personally find it quite stressful.”

You don’t say?

Yelling at his entourage and muttering to himself, the No. 2-seeded Murray alternated between brilliant and bad for the better part of two sets while dealing with a French opponent and a partisan crowd Wednesday, before righting things to beat No. 9 Richard Gasquet 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-0, 6-2 and reach his fourth semifinal at Roland Garros.

“I thought I did well, for the most part, in a tough atmosphere,” said Murray, whose next opponent is defending champion Stan Wawrinka, a 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7) winner against 55th-ranked Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Murray led 5-2 in each of the first two sets and got broken while serving for both at 5-3. Then he trailed 3-1 in the second-set tiebreaker, a critical moment.

“Had I won the second set,” Gasquet said later, “it would have been a totally different match.”

He didn’t, of course. After Murray’s ace made it 3-2, Gasquet got to a drop shot and wound up for what should have been an easy one-handed backhand, his signature shot. The ball clipped the net tape, though, allowing Murray a putaway for a winner.

That, basically, was that.

Hoping to see Gasquet become the first Frenchman to hoist the trophy since Yannick Noah in 1983, spectators urged him on with choruses of “Ree-shard!”

They even loved a tremendous point Gasquet lost, when he wound up flat on his back, leaving his arms, legs, shirt, socks and shoes caked with the rust-colored dirt.

Murray pointed at his temple. He screamed, “Hit it! Just hit it!” He looked up the folks in his guest box, including coach Jamie Delgado, and shouted various complaints, mostly craving more feedback.

Now he can regroup Thursday, when the quarterfinals in the top half of the men’s draw will be played.

Because of showers, zero points were played Monday, and only about 2 hours’ worth were contested Tuesday. All the rain tightened the schedule to the point that players will compete several days in a row to get to the final, instead of enjoying a major’s usual off-days.

With more wet weather in the forecast, the prospect of completing the tournament by Sunday is iffy.

Later, the first women’s semifinal matchup was established, with No. 4 Garbine Muguruza ending the surprising run of 108th-ranked American Shelby Rogers 7-5, 6-3, and 2011 U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur eliminating Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-4, 7-6 (6).

And in fourth-round matches originally slated for Monday, No. 9 Venus Williams lost, while her sister, No. 1 Serena, won.

Venus came up short in a bid to get to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros for the first time in a decade, dropping eight games in a row during a 6-2, 6-4 loss to No. 8 Timea Bacsinszky.