Murray proves that you can't win in Monte Carlo

There can be no pleasing some people – and the sporting public of Monte Carlo are probably more particular in their tastes than most. Twelve months after booing Andy Murray off the court for the manner of his defeat in the Monte Carlo Masters, the Monégasques yesterday jeered the world No 4 for the manner of his 6-3, 6-3 victory over Gilles Simon.

Beating the last Frenchman in the tournament was the least of Murray's sins. Simon injured his right ankle three points from the end of the first set – in which Murray had already taken command – and his movement was never the same thereafter. Murray, sensibly taking advantage, went on to win a succession of points with drop shots, to the displeasure of many spectators.

Every time Murray hit the ball short he was booed and jeered by the crowd, who also let him know what they thought after his victory, which earned a quarter-final meeting today with Portugal's Frederico Gil. It was a wonder that Murray was not pelted with foie gras and caviar from the dining terrace that overlooks the court.

It could be safe to assume that the world No 4 will not be taking his holidays in the principality in the near future. The locals were not slow to show their disapproval last year, when he performed miserably in winning only three games against Philipp Kohlschreiber in his first match.

This was a very different display. If the second set was easier than Murray would have expected, the first saw the 23-year-old Scot play some excellent tennis, in total contrast to the dreadful form he had shown between the Australian Open semi-finals and his first match on clay against Radek Stepanek 24 hours earlier.

Simon is a fine performer on this surface but the world No 24 was unsettled by Murray's clever variations of spin and pace, his rock-solid defence and unpredictable combination of thumping backhands, drop shots – even before the 26-year-old Frenchman's injury – and occasional volleys.

Murray had taken command with a break of serve in the seventh game before Simon turned his ankle in saving a set point two games later. He resumed after lengthy treatment, with the ankle heavily strapped, but Murray promptly took the next two points and the set.

Thereafter it was Monte Carlo or bust for Simon, who went for his shots at every opportunity. The Frenchman broke to love in the opening game of the second set but was clearly in trouble every time he had to move sharply. Murray, whose drop-shot strategy was entirely reasonable, briefly lost focus when he dropped two games from 5-1 up but quickly regained his composure to serve out for the match.

"Concentration can be hard when you know you're in the driving seat," Murray said afterwards. "I just wanted to put my foot down and finish the match as efficiently as possible. The drop shot was winning almost every single point for me. I had to keep him moving."

Murray has never met 26-year-old Gil at tour level but remembers playing him on the Futures circuit. The world No 82, who beat Gaël Monfils 7-6, 6-2, reached his only tour final on clay in Estoril last summer. "I watched some of his match today and he played really well," Murray said. "He can play well on clay. He's proved that by getting to the quarters here this week."

The winner of the quarter-final will play Rafael Nadal or Ivan Ljubicic, who enjoyed straight-sets wins over Richard Gasquet and Tomas Berdych respectively. In the other quarter-finals Roger Federer faces Jurgen Melzer, while David Ferrer will take on Viktor Troicki.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there