Murray rests up for big test against Argentine clay specialist Acasuso

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ANDY Murray is hoping a day of rest will provide the cure he needs to prolong his challenge on the red dust of Roland Garros.

The British No1 struggled through his French Open first-round match against 17-year-old Frenchman Jonathan Eysseric on Sunday after having been laid low with a throat infection for the past week.

Murray finished his course of antibiotics on Sunday, but has been unable to put in the work he would normally do in the run-up to a grand slam event.

His second-round match against Argentina's Jose Acasuso will not take place before tomorrow, which at least gives him time to recover from his 6-2, 1-6, 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 tribulations against Eysseric.

Murray said: "The thing with a virus is that if you go and do a lot of work physically, your body tries to recover from the physical work you're doing and not so much getting over the illness."

A day of rest and recuperation, with just a light training session, gave the Scot time for some reflection on why his style of play is not readily suited to the red dust of Roland Garros.

"I'll have to play much better," Murray said as he looked forward to a second-round encounter, probably tomorrow, against Acasuso, who is something of a clay court specialist.

It is a phrase to which British fans have become accustomed at Roland Garros.

Tim Henman got past the third round just once in 12 attempts here, reaching the semi-final where he lost to Guillermo Coria in 2004.

Greg Rusedski was also often packing his bags before the French locals had finished their first bottle of red on Monday lunchtime, 1999 being the only year he reached as far as the fourth round.

Not since Fred Perry, who beat defending champion Gottfried von Cramm in 1935, has a British man held the Grand Slam singles title in Paris.

The fact is clay requires the ability to hit a high bouncing ball while sliding on the loose surface. It examines the ability to play demanding baseline rallies, requiring patience and stamina.

Murray, however, did reach the semi-finals in the juniors at Roland Garros and was based in Barcelona from the age of 15.

He says: "I beat some good players in the juniors here. Obviously I didn't play on any of the big courts. I don't know if how I did in the juniors will have any effect on how I play later in the tournament but I've got a tough match and I've obviously got to get myself in good shape for that one.

"My style of play sometimes isn't great on clay. He's (Acasuso) a very good clay court player. He's had a very good run on the South American clay court stretch this year. It's a tough match. I have to play much better if I want to win."

Murray's problems on clay appear to be wrong shot selection, something he rarely has trouble with on faster surfaces. Against Eysseric in the first round he was guilty of an obsession with drop shots and appeared to have a mental block, continuing to play them when clearly they were not working.

Yet when Murray, still only 21, is good he still looks capable of beating anyone and the standard he sets himself could best be measured by his answer to where beating Acasuso, who knocked out Dominic Hrbaty in straight sets, might lie on a list of his triumphs.

He said: "I've beaten some great players. Acasuso is not a great player, he's a very good player on clay. It would be a good win.

"I don't think you can start comparing wins like beating Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in straight sets and beating Roger Federer a couple of times and guys like (Nikolay) Davydenko three or four times. They're obviously better players and better wins for me.

"But in terms of clay it would be a very good win, that's for sure."


(Play begins on all courts at 10am BST)

Court Philippe Chatrier

(22) Amelie Mauresmo (Fra) v Olga Savchuk (Ukr)

Thomaz Bellucci (Bra) v (2) Rafael Nadal (Spain)

Gael Monfils (Fra) v Arnaud Clement (Fra)

(1) Maria Sharapova (Rus) v Evgeniya Rodina (Rus)

Court Suzanne Lenglen

(4) Nikolay Davydenko (Rus) v Thomas Johansson (Swe)

Casey Dellacqua (Aus) v (9) Marion Bartoli (Fra)

Gilles Simon (Fra) v (21) Radek Stepanek (Czech Rep)

(11) Vera Zvonareva (Rus) v Stephanie Foretz (Fra)

Court 1

(4) Svetlana Kuznetsova (Rus) v Aiko Nakamura (Japan)

Jean-Rene Lisnard (Mon) v Marat Safin (Rus)

Aravane Rezai (Fra) v (25) Nadia Petrova (Rus)

(25) Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) v Nicolas Mahut (Fra)


Men's Singles

First round

(1) Roger Federer (Swi) bt Samuel Querrey (USA) 6-4 6-4 6-3, Albert Montanes (Spa) leads Kristof Vliegen (Bel) 7-6 (7-5) 3-2, Pablo Andujar (Spa) bt Filippo Volandri (Ita) 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 6-3 6-3, (24) Fernando Gonzalez (Chi) bt Pablo Cuevas (Uru) 6-3 6-3 6-1

Dudi Sela (Isr) leads Victor Hanescu (Rom) 3-1, Florent Serra (Fra) bt Santiago Giraldo (Col) 6-4 6-3 6-2, (12) Tommy Robredo (Spa) bt Guillermo Coria (Arg) 5-7 6-4 6-1 6-4, Marc Gicquel (Fra) leads Viktor Troicki (Ser) 6-4 2-3

Thierry Ascione (Fra) tied with Bobby Reynolds (USA) 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 0-0, Simone Bolelli (Ita) bt (17) Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp) 6-2 6-4 6-2, Michael Llodra (Fra) bt Olivier Patience (Fra) 3-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 7-5, (11) Tomas Berdych (Cze) bt Robert Smeets (Aus) 6-1 6-0 6-0

Marcel Granollers-Pujol (Spa) bt Michael Berrer (Ger) 6-3 3-6 6-2 6-3, Oscar Hernandez (Spa) bt Ivo Minar (Cze) 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 7-5, Wayne Odesnik (USA) bt (29) Guillermo Canas (Arg) 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (10-8), Hyung Taik Lee (Kor) bt Jonas Bjorkman (Swe) 6-4 6-4 6-3

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spa) bt Sergio Roitman (Arg) 6-2 6-4 7-6 (7-5), John Isner (USA) leads Juan Ignacio Chela (Arg) 6-2 6-3 5-7 1-4, (22) Fernando Verdasco (Spa) bt Santiago Ventura (Spa) 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-1, Nicolas Devilder (Fra) bt Chris Guccione (Aus) 6-4 6-1 6-4

Women's Singles

First round

(32) Karin Knapp (Ita) bt Martina Muller (Ger) 6-0 6-4, Akgul Amanmuradova (Uzb) leads Yanina Wickmayer (Bel) 6-2 3-4, (12) Agnes Szavay (Hun) bt Ayumi Morita (Jpn) 6-1 4-6 6-4, (8) Venus Williams (USA) bt Tzipora Obziler (Isr) 6-3 4-6 6-2

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Rus) bt Maria Emilia Salerni (Arg) 6-1 6-1, Tatiana Perebiynis (Ukr) leads (26) Flavia Pennetta (Ita) 1-0, (14) Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol) leads Mariya Koryttseva (Ukr) 5-4, Jelena Pandzic (Cro) bt Severine Bremond (Fra) 4-6 6-3 6-2

Gisela Dulko (Arg) bt Sara Errani (Ita) 6-4 4-6 7-5, Tathiana Garbin (Ita) tied with Marina Erakovic (Nzl) 7-6 (11-9) 3-6 3-5, (3) Jelena Jankovic (Ser) bt Monica Niculescu (Rom) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2, Virginia Ruano Pascual (Spa) leads (27) Katarina Srebotnik (Slo) 4-3

Emilie Loit (Fra) bt Zi Yan (Chn) 1-6 6-4 8-6, Timea Bacsinszky (Swi) bt Tamira Paszek (Aut) 1-6 6-3 6-3, (10) Patty Schnyder (Swi) bt Ekaterina Bychkova (Rus) 6-3 6-4, Anastassia Rodionova (Rus) tied with Shuai Peng (Chn) 0-6 6-2 3-4, Petra Cetkovska (Cze) bt (23) Alona Bondarenko (Ukr) 6-3 6-0