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Jun 3, 2014

Andy Murray Passes a Tough Test


Reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray came through an epic match with Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to make it through to the fourth round of the 2014 French Open. The two players began their match the previous day but play was suspended at 7-7 in the fifth and final set due to bad light. Murray had to save a break point at a crucial stage before coming through 3-6 6-3 6-3 4-6 12-10. The Scot had been suffering with a leg injury during the first session of play and Kohlschreiber was able to take the first set with relative ease before Murray came fighting back, taking the next two sets by the same scoreline of 6-3. Having led by a break in both the fourth and fifth set, this should really have been a straightforward victory for the former world number two but Philipp Kohlschreiber dug in and although he was ultimately defeated, he should take a lot of confidence from this impressive performance.

This epic battle is almost as huge as football teams fighting to be the leading world cup bet. Just like an epic match between two dominant teams in the World Cup, the match between Phillip Kohlschreiber and Andy Murray is by far the most exciting game in the 2014 French Open.

While Andy Murray is currently not working with a coach, the rumour mill has been in overdrive throughout this tournament with speculation rife regarding who will take up the position following the departure of Ivan Lendl. When questioned on the matter, Murray would not dismiss the option of a female coach, with former Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Amelie Mauresmo being strongly linked with the vacant position. Andy Murray has already achieved a huge amount of success with two Grand Slam tournaments to his credit already, but he has the potential to be challenging Nadal and Djokovic for the number one spot and a new coach might give him that extra edge required. Having been coached by his mother Judy for the early part of his career, Murray should have no problems working with a female coach such as Mauresmo.

Following his third round victory, Betfair have cut the Scot to odds of 14/1 to win his first clay court Grand Slam by capturing the French Open title. He is now the joint third favourite alongside Spaniard David Ferrer. Betfair are struggling to split the front two in the market, with Novak Djokovic just edging things slightly at Even money, while Rafael Nadal can be backed at 5/4. I’d fully expect these two to flip flop in the market over the coming days and they look likely to meet in Sunday’s final. Nadal has an incredible record where the French Open is concerned and is the only male player to win a single Grand Slam tournament on eight separate occasions. Nadal’s only defeat at Roland Garros came in 2009 when he was beaten in the fourth round by Sweden’s Robin Soderling. I’m slightly surprised that Betfair make Djokovic favourite to take the 2014 French Open on that basis but the Serb has showed incredible form since losing to Andy Murray at Wimbledon last year. It will be extremely interesting to see if Andy Murray can make it to the semi final stage an upset either of the aforementioned tennis gods on this surface.

In the latest development, Andy Murray defeated Fernando Verdasco to move into the last eight at the French Open.

Image by Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images
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