Murray's miraculous comeback sets up Nadal Paris showdown
Murray wins first two sets against Monfils, then loses fourth 6-1 but takes the fifth 6-0
Andy Murray secured "one of the most improbable victories of his career" at the French Open against home favourite Gael Monfils, reports Kevin Mitchell in The Guardian, to set up a semi-final against Rafa Nadal.
The Scot appeared to be cantering to victory at Roland Garros but threw away a two-set lead after suffering a complete collapse, before recovering in stunning fashion to win the fifth and final set 6-0 in just 21 minutes as darkness fell in Paris.
The final score of 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 1-6, 6-0 tells the story of "a match that swung violently in all directions", says Mitchell, as Murray was "forced to finish a fight in the dark he should have ended with a knockout in the sunlight".
At the end of the fourth set a demoralised Murray, whose game had gone to pieces was told there was 20 minutes of light remaining and they could fit in six more games. Murray won the lot.
Such a finish left many questions, says Neil Harman in The Times. "What overcame Murray in the final set that had been so grievously missing in the fourth? How did Monfils, who had nailed everything in the fourth set, crack up in the fifth? How do the psychological wheels turn?
"What is without doubt is that the decision of [referee Stefan] Fransson to tell Murray that he should play on, so got his dander up that he played in a manner that was as defiant as a two-fingered gesture to officialdom."
By the end of the fifth set the erratic Monfils was a "punctured balloon", says Simon Briggs of the Daily Telegraph.
But what are the Scot's chances against Nadal in the semi-final? "Murray is playing some of the best clay-court tennis I have seen him play," says Simon Fuller of the BBC. "To beat Nadal after playing two five-set matches is a massive challenge, but if Murray recovers well, he is in as good a shape as ever to meet it." ·