Ramos-Vinolas Ousts Top Seed Murray
In a disjointed match, featuring 13 service breaks, the Spanish No. 15 seed wore down the Scot on another sun-kissed day 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 over two hours and 33 minutes.
Ramos-Vinolas denied Murray, a three-time semi-finalist at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, the 100th clay-court match win of his career (99-44). The 29 year old now moves on to play fifth-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic, on Friday. Cilic leads Ramos-Vinolas 3-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
“The most normal thing would be to lose the match,” said Ramos-Vinolas, when asked about his recovery from 0-4 in the third set. “But today it's one of those days that sometimes happens. I still fought. I was fighting. I was 0-4, and I thought that I need to keep playing every point. Then, at the end, I won. I don't know what to say.”
Murray gained a 2-0 lead, courtesy of breaking Ramos-Vinolas in an 18-point second game, but there followed four successive service breaks. Murray regained his composure, scrambling and frustrating Ramos-Vinolas with changes of pace in lengthy rallies. The Spaniard lost all four of his service games in the 49-minute set and eventually held serve in the 10th game of the match. It inspired a run of five straight games for the World No. 24.
In the decider, Murray surged to a 4-0 lead for the loss of three points, but Ramos-Vinolas responded and Murray, incredibly, came to serve at 4-4, 0/40. The top seed held his nerve, but remained unhappy, frequently looking to his coach, Jamie Delgado, sat courtside, for inspiration. The relentless power of Ramos-Vinolas’ forehand, aided by his scrambling abilities, began to pierce holes in Murray’s armoury and a service break to 30 gave Ramos-Vinolas a 6-5 lead. One match point opportunity went begging, with a backhand down the line narrowly wide. But Ramos-Vinolas booked a spot in his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final on his second chance when Murray sliced a backhand drop shot into the net.
“At 4-0, one of the service games where I got broken, I didn't play such a good game,” said Murray.
“Then he obviously started playing better towards the end of the set. I still had a bunch of chances. I guess both of us did really. I think at 4-All, he had 0/40, too. I certainly struggled a bit at the end of the match.
“A few times today, I made some bad decisions. That's something that, with my team, I'll look at, watch some parts of the match over, see the shots that I chose and what I would do differently.”
Earlier in the day, Cilic beat fellow Monte-Carlo resident Tomas Berdych, the ninth seed and 2015 runner-up, 6-2, 7-6(0) in two hours.