- French Open, Day Five
Murray does his best Braveheart impression in Paris
Anyone would think Andy Murray actually liked pain. Having hobbled through his third round match against Michael Berrer after turning his ankle last year, the Scot shrugged off back spasms to complete an impressive comeback win over Jarkko Nieminen. Or maybe it was all some elaborate hoax... some complex mind games to distract his opponent.
Murray's Hollywood audition
It was all very Braveheart as the plucky Scot gritted his teeth and played through the pain to advance in Paris. At one point Murray seemed to relish being the world-weary hero, throwing in a dramatic line you would expect to hear at the movies. After a double fault, Murray screamed, "Kills me inside, damn it". It would certainly explain why Virginia Wade accused him of being a drama queen...
Speaking of playing through injury, special mention must go to Julien Benneteau, who is through to the third round at his home grand slam, despite fracturing his elbow just six weeks ago. Benneteau is still in with a shout of securing a place in the French team at the Olympics and he will have done his chances no harm with a 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory over Dmitry Tursunov.
At 1-6 0-2 down it looked like Murray was heading out of the competition - it was just a case of whether it would be via retirement or defeat. But having held his serve for the first time in the match, the British No. 1 began to loosen up and use his superior skill to compensate for his reduced mobility. Having drawn Nieminen into the net with a deft drop shot, the Finn could only turn and look in despair as Murray's inch-perfect lob dropped just inside the baseline. That brought up set point, and it was all one-way traffic from then on.
The form of Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova appears to match her outfit as she fired a warning to her rivals with another emphatic win at Roland Garros. Kvitova may not have won a title this season, but having dropped just seven games in her opening two matches, she is looking tough to beat in Paris. A mouthwatering quarter-final against Maria Sharapova is looking a real possibility...the winner of that match could well go on to win the title.
Li Loving life in Paris
She has struggled for form since becoming the first Asian player to win a grand slam at Roland Garros last year, but you wouldn't know it to see Li in action. The defending champion needed just 52 minutes to blaze past Stephanie Foretz Gacon, dropping just two games in the process.
Rafael Nadal has attracted criticism for taking his time between points, but despite lining up his bottles, rearranging his shorts and all the usual routines that we have come to expect from the Spaniard, he needed less than two hours to see off Denis Istomin. Which begs the question, just how quickly could he win matches if he stopped faffing around between points?