Andy Murray was shown the exit from the Monte Carlo Masters April 20 when he was taken out of his quarterfinal contest by Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. The world no. 4 started off his match with Berdych well enough, saving four set points before coming back to win the tie-break and take the first set. After that, however, his game left him and Berdych cruised to easy wins in the next two sets.
The 6(4) -7(7), 6-2, 6-3 match put Berdych into the semifinals, where he will face world no. 1 Novak Djokovic. The Serbian moved ahead by downing Robin Haase in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2. Djokovic and Berdych will each be able to take a short trip home after the match, as they both currently call Monte Carlo home.
Djokovic overcame emotions to prevail
The day before Djokovic played an emotional match played just hours after he learned of the death of his grandfather. Novak was up against Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov and won in three sets after gifting the first. Djokovic understandably looked somewhat out of it through the first set, then gathered his game and put himself into the semis. Anyone who has experienced the death of a close loved one knows the strength it took to play on the public stage like that.
Nadal to face Simon
Gilles Simon defeated fellow Frenchman Jo-Wilfiried Tsonga 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the semis. Simon will be up against the defending Monte Carlo champion, Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard downed Stanislas Wawrinka is straight sets.
The court in Monte Carlo may well be a harbinger of things to come. Djokovic has dominated Nadal almost everywhere, with just a few exceptions. One of them in the Monte Carlo Masters, another will be coming up on the red clay of Roland Garros. Look for Nadal to lose his defense of both.
Serena playing in Fed Cup
Serena Williams will be representing the United States in the Fed Cup for the second time this year. It's not that common for her to come upon a sense of national pride, but she has to play in a Fed Cup tie at least twice to qualify for the Olympics. So Serena is sitting aside shopping and social events long enough to go to Ukraine and play over the coming weekend.
Before this year, the last time she played in a Fed Cup competition was in 2007, when she helped the United States defeat Belgium. She will be playing relative unknowns in the contest in Ukraine, with the United States being the heavy favorite.
The difference between some of them and Serena, as well as players from other countries who regularly play for their country team, is the commitment to the team. Serena is only stopping by to stamp her ticket to the Olympics. I think competing in the Olympics should be an honor reserved for those who truly exhibit the desire to consistently be part of the national team.
Jeff Musall is a longtime fan and player of tennis. He began following the professional game as a kid back in the 70s, watching the greats of that era.
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- Tomas Berdych
- Novak Djokovic