Aix-En-Provence: Andy Murray's experience tops Luca Van Assche's youth

Andy Murray defeated Luca Van Assche in the Aix-En-Provence Challenger quarter-final

by Jovica Ilic
Aix-En-Provence: Andy Murray's experience tops Luca Van Assche's youth

World no. 52 Andy Murray made an early exit at the Madrid Masters. Andy went to France and entered a strong Aix-En-Provence Challenger as the 5th seed. Aix-En-Provence is Andy's first clay-court Challenger since Dresden 2005, and it's so far so good for the Briton.

Murray met Luca Van Assche, the youngest top-100 player, in the quarter-final and beat him 6-2, 7-6 in an hour and 54 minutes. Thus, Andy is through to his fifth Challenger semi-final and the third since returning to this level a couple of years ago.

The veteran dominated with his first serve and kept the second safe enough. Murray denied two out of three break points and turned 45% of the return points into three breaks from seven opportunities. The young gun fought well in the second set after a slow start, denying two match points in the tenth game and creating two set points in the tie break.

Andy Murray is through to his fifth Challenger semi-final in Aix-En-Provence.

Murray came from 6-4 down and rattled off four straight points to emerge at the top and advance into the semi-final. The veteran netted a forehand in the encounter's first game and faced a break point.

He denied it with a drop shot winner and held with a smash winner for 1-0. They served well in the next four games, and Murray moved in front with a break at 3-2 following Van Assche's loose forehand. Andy grabbed the next one with a service winner and forced the rival to serve to stay in the set at 2-5.

Luca hit a double fault in the eighth game to offer Andy a set point and netted a routine backhand to push the Briton 6-2 in front. Murray sprayed a forehand error at the start of the second set to lose serve. He pulled it back in game two after the opponent's backhand mistake and created another break chance at 2-1.

Luca saved it with a forehand winner and brought the game home to remain on the positive side. The young gun served to stay in the match at 4-5 and faced two match points after a wayward forehand. Van Assche saved both and held for 5-5 and more drama.

The set went into a tie break, and the Frenchman came from 4-2 down to rattle off four points and create two set points after an extended rally in the tenth point. Murray saved both and forced the rival's mistake for a match point at 7-6. Luca sprayed a backhand error in the 14th point to push Andy over the top and into the last four.

Andy Murray Luca Van Assche