- French Open, Day 11
Wasteful Murray punished by Ferrer
Andy Murray's woeful clay record against David Ferrer continued as he bowed out of the French Open at the quarter-final stage.
Murray had toppled Ferrer in five of their previous nine encounters but had never beaten the Spaniard on clay, and that pattern continued as he fell to a 6-4 6-7(3) 6-3 6-2 defeat at Roland Garros.
Murray fell short in his bid to reach a sixth successive grand slam semi-final, while Ferrer will meet defending champion Rafael Nadal in the last four after the world No. 2 beat Nicolas Almagro in straight sets.
The British No. 1 was left to rue 59 unforced errors and his inability to make the most of his chances. On all five occasions that Murray broke Ferrer's serve, he immediately surrendered his own as he failed to take a stranglehold on the match.
Ferrer had never previously reached the last four in Paris, but he had not dropped a set in his opening four matches and looked immediately comfortable as he drew first blood with an early break of serve.
Having staved off a set point on his own serve, Murray finally broke at the seventh attempt to claw himself back to 5-4 in the first set, only to see all his hard work immediately undone as Ferrer broke straight back to snatch the opening set.
The Brit had the ideal start to the second set with an early break, but once again Ferrer broke straight back. While the Spaniard looked largely untroubled on his serve, Murray was under constant pressure on every point as he appeared racked with indecision.
A stunning cross-court backhand saw Murray forge another chance to penetrate the Ferrer delivery, but having moved ahead for the third time, he was broken tamely to love, only to raise his game to win the tiebreaker.
An early break in the third set put Murray on the front foot for the first time, but his progress was checked by a brief rain shower, and when the players returned to court, Ferrer took control of the match as he re-established his lead.
Murray showed flashes of brilliance throughout the match - some great defence seeing him break once again early in the fourth, but he was unable to sustain his challenge, as Ferrer closed out a deserved victory.