• French Open, Day 11

Two days that could define Murray's season

Jo Carter June 6, 2012

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Andy Murray's wait for his maiden grand slam title continues, but there is certainly a silver lining after he bowed out of the French Open at the hands of David Ferrer on Wednesday.

With the opening two sets taking well over two hours and a brief rain delay disrupting proceedings, it looked like the players would have to return to the court on Thursday to resume their quarter-final encounter.

A win would have seen Murray €150,000 better off and having defended the 720 points from reaching last year's semi-finals, but defeat secures something money can't buy: time.

That time is an extra two days to head home, take a quick breather and get a feel for the grass before Queen's, Wimbledon and the London 2012 Olympics.

If play had been suspended, he would have been in limbo - still in the French Open yet no closer to the title. Having dropped the third set, Murray would have had to win two to book a semi-final showdown against Rafael Nadal.

Even if you are at 100 percent there is no guarantee of beating Nadal on clay, but it would hardly be ideal preparation to head into the match on the back of a punishing five-setter and without a day off.

Based on the way the British No. 1 has been playing, and the form Nadal is in - he has now won 48 consecutive sets on the red clay - Murray's chances of victory in Paris, or even making the final, would have been extremely slim.

Of course, anything can happen, and Murray is capable of beating any player on any given day, but with a record of 50 wins from 51 matches in Paris, few would bet against Nadal making the final and even going on to win a record seventh French Open title.

Equally, if play had been suspended and Murray returned to the court and lost to Ferrer, he would have also lost a day which could have been spent on the grass courts in London.

With Murray preparing to defend his AEGON Championships title at Queen's, which begins on Monday, it also gives him an extra day to shift the back niggle that still appears to be troubling him.

The pressure on Murray is almost unbearable for the Scot at Wimbledon, but with the Olympics also at the All England Club later this summer, the stakes are even higher this year.

Murray would probably be the first to admit the French Open is not his best chance of winning his first major title, so with what could be a career-defining summer ahead, two extra days could make all the difference.

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Jo Carter Close
Jo Carter is an assistant editor of ESPN.co.uk