Murray ousts Gasquet in five-set thriller
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Two years after beating France's Richard Gasquet in an epic fightback at Wimbledon, Britain's Andy Murray has repeated the achievement on the Frenchman's own turf at Roland Garros.
AFP - History was repeated at the French Open on Monday as British fourth seed Andy Murray hit back from two sets down to beat France's Richard Gasquet in a memorable five-set first-round match.
In a repeat of his epic victory against Gasquet in the last 16 at Wimbledon in 2008, Murray allowed the Frenchman to open up a two-set lead before roaring back to win 4-6, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 in four hours and four minutes.
Murray, a two-time Grand Slam losing finalist who has struggled for form this year, will now play unseeded Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela in round two.
Gasquet, who needed treatment on his left thigh as the match wore on, won his first title since 2007 at Nice on Saturday and he warmed the crowd with some early demonstrations of his sumptuous shot-making here, forcing Murray to save three break points in his second service game.
The fans that packed Court Suzanne Lenglen were treated to some magnificent rallies in the first set and it was Murray who blinked first beneath the blazing Paris sun.
Gasquet, up to 45th in the world rankings after his Nice triumph, earned a set point with a sweeping crosscourt backhand and the Scot handed him the set on a plate by slamming a simple volley into the net.
Murray was forced to play with his back to the wall in a tight and gripping second set and after saving a set point in the 12th game he was undone in the subsequent tie-break as Gasquet established a two-set lead.
The world number four is renowned for his durability though and he hauled himself back into the match by claiming a cagey third set before taking the fourth set in the face of little resistance from his adversary.
Gasquet was flagging and Murray strengthened his grip on the match when a sublime sliced drop-shot and a wayward Gasquet backhand brought him a break of serve and a 3-1 lead in the deciding set.
The two 23-year-olds were poles apart in the final games, Murray full of fizz and Gasquet increasingly listless, and the Frenchman stood motionless as Murray fired the match-winning ace past him.