Murray proves a point with victory over Acasuso

AFP , PARIS

Fri, May 30, 2008 - Page 24

Andy Murray believed he had a point to prove in the second round of the French Open on Wednesday and his impressive 6-4, 6-0, 6-4 win over Argentine clay court specialist Jose Acasuso in a second round tie clearly did the job.

Murray struggled to a five-set win over French youngster Jonathan Eysseric in his opening round on Sunday and it added fuel to those that say that he will never be a threat on the slow clay courts.

But the Scot produced a storming performance against a proven expert on the surface and he was uncharacteristically upbeat afterward.

“It was a great performance. I did everything well. Served and returned well,” the 21-year-old, 10th seed said. “Overall I didn’t make too many mistakes. I was very aggressive and my shot selection was excellent. Sometimes you go on the court and you feel like you’ve got a little something to prove. I think that I didn’t play my best match the other day, but wasn’t feeling great.”

“Even though my performances have been, I think, pretty decent on clay so far this year, I’ve lost to some of the best clay court players in the world in the matches that I have lost,” he said. “I still feel like I’m kind of getting questioned as to why I’m not almost doing better. I felt like when I went on the court today I wanted to go and show that I can beat the top clay court players.”

“Acasuso, he might not be a Federer or Djokovic or Nadal, but he’s ranked, I don’t know, 40, 45 in the world mainly on clay,” he said. “I went out and played great and showed that I’m a very good player on clay.”

Murray learned his tennis as a youngster on clay in Spain, but has had little success on the surface since turning professional and he readily admits that his best chance of becoming the first Briton to win a Grand Slam title since Fred Perry in 1936 will come on the hard courts of New York and Melbourne or the grass at Wimbledon.

But he now harbors hopes of further progress in Paris where he is seeded to meet David Nalbandian of Argentina in the last 16 before a potential match-up with triple champion Rafael Nadal of Spain in the last eight.

First though comes a tie against another tough clay court specialist Nicolas Almagro of Spain in the third round and Murray is in no doubt how hard that will be.

“I put him in there with the top players on clay,” he said. “I think he can play great. He’s got a big serve, a big game. Doesn’t move particularly well, but he plays very aggressive and dominates the majority of his points.”