Murray 'curse' hits French foe

2012-04-19 13:38

Monte Carlo - Andy Murray's apparent jinx on opponents continued on Thursday at the Monte Carlo Masters, with the third seed advancing 6-5 into the quarter-finals as Frenchman Julien Benneteau went down with an ankle injury.

Murray got a rare two walkovers last month in Miami, when Canadian Milos Raonic was injured before their third-round encounter and Rafael Nadal was unable to play their semi-final five days later due to the knee problems which continue to haunt him.

Murray was fighting through a lengthy first set with the number 31 Frenchman which was nearing the 90-minute mark, when Benneteau took a tumble, rolling his right ankle.

Grimacing in pain, Benneteau was patched up and tried to play on, but gave it up in vain to end the abbreviated contest after 11 games.

Benneteau had reached his best career showing at Monte Carlo after falling in the first or second round in all eight previous main draw appearances. In the second round, he had beaten Austrian 15th seed Jurgen Melzer, a 2011 semi-finalist.

Murray was tested in the early stages, earning a break but losing it as Benneteau squared at two games apiece after Murray had saved four break points.

"He was taking the ball well, and making me do a lot of running," said Murray, semi-finalist a year ago, "We were both playing well.

"Today was a good match, he was making it difficult for me, and we had a lot of long games."

Top seed Novak Djokovic was bidding for the quarters against tricky Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, while second seed and seven-time champion Rafael Nadal was to give his injured left knee a further test as he faced Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan.

Nadal has not lost in the Principality since 2008 and has won the last seven editions.