|French Open 2014|
|Gael Monfils  (FRA)||vs||Andy Murray  (GRB)|
ScheduleWednesday, 4 June 2014 at 16:00 GMT / 17:00 UK / 21:30 IST
VenueCourt Philippe Chatrier
All of the quarter final match-ups in 2014 have a quality look about them, and each will provide their own level of interest and intrigue. But this one has a certain edge to it that could make for an absorbing match. But the question remains: who will turn up with their A-Game on Wednesday?
You'd have to fancy Gael Monfils chances against Andy Murray in this match-up. The flamboyant Frenchman knows his way around a clay court like a blindman in the dark. Murray on the other hand while more than a capable player, admits he still struggles on the surface. Both have had a five set scare on their path to the quarter finals, and could quite easily be packing off and heading towards their next grass court assignment.
In their third round matches, Murray squeaked past Philipp Kohlschreiber (#28) 12-10 in the fifth set, while Monfils looked all at sea in the fourth set against Fabio Fognini (#14), losing 0-6, but coming back strong to win the fifth 6-2. To compound matters even further, both eased by their fourth round opponents in three sets. Monfils defeating Stan Wawrinka's first round conqueror Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, while Murray accounted for the very dangerous Fernando Verdasco. So trying to get a 'read' on these two prior to their match this afternoon is next to impossible.
Monfils and Murray have known and played one another since before they were teenagers, and there's probably not a lot that they don't know about each others game. So, it will all boil down to key moments of the match that could ultimately decide the outcome. We're talking about pin-point serving for free points, executing the returns of serve at strategic moments, because elsewhere, these two could cancel each others game out. For me, I believe Monfils capability on clay is the main factor here, plus his athletic ability to manoeuvre the court could play in his favour, more so than Andy.
It's been four years since these two last met on the ATP tour. Overall, Murray leads the head-to-head count 3-2 over the five matches that they've competed since 2006. Their first two matches against each other were both on clay in 2006. Murray winning in Hamburg in straight sets, while their next encounter was a topsy turvy five set affair in the first round of the French Open, Monfils getting home 6-4, 6-7(2), 1-6, 6-2, 6-1. So far, apart from the results generated by Nadal and Djokovic, Ernest Gulbis has been the big mover. If Monfils can join the Latvian in the last four, it will be seeds 1,2, 18 and 23, providing of course that Nadal can navigate his way past David Ferrer later this afternoon.
I like Andy Murray a lot as a player, but clay isn't his real speciality. I know he'd like to go as far as he can at Roland Garros, but with a big partisan crowd behind him, I'll go with Gael Monfils, to take it in four. Allez la France!