By Ros Satar
Andy Murray meets an in-form Jeremy Chardy once more this clay court season as they battle for a place in the French Open quarter-final.
- Murray leads Chardy 6-1 in the head to head
- Murray defeated him in his Rome opener, before withdrawing
- Murray undefeated on clay so far, 13-0.
Jeremy Chardy will have a little revenge on his mind, after losing his first clay court encounter with Andy Murray in Rome this season, having admitted to feeling quite piqued at finding out that Murray had subsequently withdrawn, after beating him relatively comfortably in straight sets.
It was a decision that Murray insists he did not take lightly, as he explained after his third round win over Australia’s nick Kyrgios.
Murray explained: “I obviously wanted to try to compete as best I could that week, but the more time I spent in the event, I realized I felt very tired the evening that I played the match against Chardy, woke up the next day feeling pretty tired. I had a bad practice before my match with Goffin. It was like maybe I’m able to get through a couple more matches, but I’m going to have to then take more time off and the French Open starts on Sunday. It was a tough decision, but at the time it felt like the right one.”
But for Chardy, perhaps it gives the Frenchman a little more incentive to give Murray a hard time in the fourth round.
He said: “I play against him in Rome. I play a good match, but still I lost 3 and 3. Yeah, after he beat me, he pull out from Rome to be fresh for Roland Garros, and I think for him it’s a big goal.”
He continued: “I was a little bit pissed when I see he retired because of tiredness. But it’s his choice andI mean, for the moment he’s doing well. So if he win Roland Garros, everybody say it was a good choice. If he lost, it will be wrong.”
Rome was their first meeting on clay, with Murray delaying the start of his clay court season to get married, before spending a few days training in Barcelona. He claimed his first title in Munich under trying weather conditions, before coming to the altitude and the faster clay of Madrid.
He and Chardy have met either at Masters 1000 events or in Slams, with Chardy’s only win coming at the Cincinnati Masters in 2012. The Frenchman has been skirting under the radar of home focus, and he has been in fine form too, blowing away 17th seed David Goffin in the previous round. After some wilderness years where the Frenchman had to focus on the Challenger tours to get his confidence up, he has been predominantly on the main tour this year, reaching the quarter-finals of Marseille and Houston, and this has been by far his most consistent run this year.
Murray is likely to win, but Chardy could well push him to four sets. Murray and Chardy are scheduled second on Court Suzanne Lenglen, not before 12:30pm CET (11:30am BST).