Andy Murray believes confidence could be the difference as he seeks to make the French Open final for the first time by beating world number one Novak Djokovic in the last four.
Murray beat David Ferrer 7-6, 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 yesterday to secure his quarter-final progress. It was his 15th straight win on clay – equalling his career-best winning streak – and a first victory in four attempts against the Spaniard on his signature surface.
But Djokovic – who is seeking to complete a career Grand Slam at Roland Garros – represents a significant new challenge. Since beating him in the Wimbledon final two years ago, Murray has lost his last seven matches against the Serbian, including the final of the Australian Open earlier this year.
However, it’s four years since they last played on clay, a close encounter that Djokovic narrowly won despite his Scottish rival serving for the match.
IN CONTROL: Andy Murray beat David Ferrer for the first time on clay
“I’ve put myself in a position to win against the best players in the world on this surface,” said Murray, who won in Munich and Madrid recently and claimed the scalp of Rafael Nadal for the first time on clay.
“My build up has been good and going into the match having not lost on clay, plus having some big wins behind me, is great for confidence.
“I just need to keep doing what I’ve been doing. It’s not going to be plain sailing and I need to be mentally strong against a player like Novak and accept it’s never going to be physically comfortable.
“It’s going to be difficult but I’m going to be prepared.”
Djokovic dominated Nadal in their quarter-final, the long time King of Clay in Paris who had previously lost just once in more than 70 matches in Paris.
But he’s not taking the challenge of Murray lightly, despite winning 18 of their 26 career encounters.
“He’s playing some really good tennis and has really improved on clay,” said Djokovic, a two-time beaten finalist in Paris.
“He’s moving better, serving well and he’s had some of the best ground-strokes in the game for around ten years now. He’s an extremely talented player and he’ll be motivated to go past the semi-finals for the first time here.
“Andy’s a fighter, he has lots of experience of these big matches.”
Feature image courtesy of Australian Open TV, via Youtube, with thanks