Monday, June 8, 2009

BPL Best XI 2008/09


Kelvin Leong picks the best eleven players of the BPL 2008/09 season.

Goalkeeper

Edwin van Der Sar - Man United

71 saves and 21 clean sheets.

Call him Superman or anything you want but it is quite impossible to choose anyone else as the best goalkeeper of the season.

Age is catching up with him at 38 but there has been no signs of a better man between the sticks in the BPL this season.

Go Edwin go!

Defenders

Glen Johnson - Portsmouth

Lost his way while at Chelsea but managed to make a complete turnaround at Portsmouth.

Three goals and three assists caps off a marvelous season which has also seen him become a mainstay in the Three Lions squad.

Johnson is now Fabio Capello's first choice right-back and with his energetic forays down the right, it will be tough to see anyone dispose him off his newly-minted throne.

Brede Hangeland - Fulham

Standing at 1.94m tall, the former FC Copenhagen giant has been a revelation for the Cottagers at the back.

A mean tackling machine who hardly allows attackers to get the upper hand. Fulham manager Roy Hodgson's best signing of the season.

His aerial ability can be compared to that of Nemanja Vidic's.

Nemanja Vidic - Man United

The Serbian sweeper is a scary prospect for any opposing striker.

Armed with a towering header and great leadership skills at the heart of defence, Vidic seldom puts a foot wrong.

Sure, he had an off day against Liverpool, but fans who have seen him throughout the season will know that he is the newest jewel in Sir Alex Ferguson's hat.

Just like United legends, Steve Bruce and Jaap Stam, Vidic provides stability and calm while the Red Devils go on the offence.

What contributes to him being on the list is his uncanny ability to score crucial goals when it counts. Four goals and one assist for a defender is a very good return.

Leighton Baines - Everton

Second season with the Toffees and Baines is a man transformed.

Finally showing the fans why he was once hailed as a challenger to Ashley Cole's England role.

He had made the left-back position his own with his rampaging runs down the flank with six assists to his name.

Midfielders

Frank Lampard - Chelsea

How much more does Lampard have to do in order to gain the recognition he duly deserves?

Another season gone and another 20 goal haul for the England midfielder.

12 league goals and 10 assists is no mean feat when you are competing for a spot in midfield with the likes of Michael Ballack, Michael Essien and Deco.

About time this man gets regarded as one of the top midfielders in the world.

Stephen Ireland - Man City

Yes, Man City have enough crisp dollar bills to cover the entire pitch but what they lack is a player who lives and breathes for the club.

In comes Ireland who has upstaged his more illustrious teammate, Robinho, to become the most influential City player of this campaign.

Nine goals and nine assists outlines how valuable he is to Mark Hughes' side.

It will be a pity if City start buying midfielders and relegate him to the bench.

Cristiano Ronaldo - Man United

Critics will never stop slaying the Portuguese winger no matter how well he performs.

He has set the standard so ridiculously high that he almost always falls short.

Who is to say that 18 goals and six assists is not good enough? For a start, half of the players listed as strikers in the BPL failed to hit the double digit mark.

His game comes buttered with an arrogant persona but wasn't it just a while back when a certain Eric Cantona made his name by being the same arrogant genius we fell in love with?

Steven Gerrard - Liverpool

‘Captain Fantastic'.

Stevie-G is the heartbeat of Liverpool with every attack going through him.

Playing as a support striker alongside Torres has seen him net 16 goals while providing nine sublime assists.

Just like Ronaldo, critics always expect too much.

We have to remember that ten other players need to pull their weight no matter how good their captain is.

Strikers

Nicolas Anelka - Chelsea

LeSulk played second fiddle to Didier Drogba at Chelsea for a long time before finally getting his chance this season.

Gone are the days when Anelka struts around like a spoilt brat. The Frenchman has matured into a mean goalscoring machine capable of unlocking the tightest defences.

19 goals and the Golden Boot title in the bag, who cares if he moans, sulks or cries. He can sulk his way to Spurs if he fancies!

Fernando Torres - Liverpool

‘El Nino' they call him.

Superstar he is.

Torres has been the striker Liverpool fans were praying for since the departure of Michael Owen.

Had El Nino not been out injured so often, Gerrard might have been the one holding up the league trophy instead of Gary Neville.

14 goals does not justify his worth at Merseyside and if the man can stay fit for the upcoming season, Liverpool might go one better.

Notable mentions:-
Steven Pienaar - Everton
Phil Jagielka - Everton
Ashley Young - Aston Villa
Pepe Reina - Liverpool
Kevin Davies - Bolton

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cibulkova crushes Sharapova

Cibulkova crushes Sharapova

Dominika Cibulkova will Dinara Safina for a place in the French Open final after thrashing Maria Sharapova 6-0 6-2.

The Slovakian 20th seed was in blistering form, making just a solitary unforced error in the first set, and belied the fact that she had never made it past round three at Roland Garros to simply blow Sharapova off the court.

Sharapova had been taken to three sets in each of her previous matches - having only returned in March this year after seven months out with a shoulder injury - and she seemed to run out of gas in the quarter-final on Suzanne Lenglen court.

The Russian had defeated her opponent in both their previous meetings, each of which came on clay last year, and towered almost a foot taller than the world number 19.

However, it was Cibulkova who made the big impression early on, breaking three times in succession to blitz Sharapova 6-0 in an opening set which lasted only half an hour.

Cibulkova was putting on a fine show in her first grand slam quarter-final and broke her bemused-looking adversary again in the opening game of the second set.

Two more breaks followed and the dreaded double-bagel was only averted when Sharapova finally got on the board in the 12th game of the match.

Pride was salvaged but the match was irretrievable, and Cibulkova served out at the next time of asking.

Earlier, Safina came from a set down to defeat 19-year-old Victoria Azarenka.

The Russian was given the runaround in the first set and was at one stage being held at 4-4 in the second, but recovered her poise to eke out a 1-6 6-4 6-2 victory on Philippe Chatrier court.

Ninth seed Azarenka, playing her first grand-slam quarter-final, had beaten Safina at Indian Wells earlier this year and had also won three titles in 2009, in Brisbane, Memphis and Miami.

She was therefore not overawed in the slightest and played an almost perfect first set, which lasted just 23 minutes.

Azarenka broke to 15 in the very first game and went 4-1 up when she grabbed a break on Safina's third service game.

The Belarussian was prospering under blue skies, her length and nagging consistency troubling Safina, who dropped her serve again in game seven to hand Azarenka the set.

Early in the second set, Safina suddenly found the form that had seen her lose just five games in her run to the quarters.

She broke in the third and fifth games, and would have been given further encouragement when Azarenka slammed her racquet down in disgust the moment she went 4-1 down.

The teenager fought back superbly to make it 4-4 but Safina rallied again to break and then hold to take the set.

Azarenka dropped serve in the first game of the third set and world number one Safina, who has yet to win a grand slam, finished the stronger to wrap up victory in an hour and 52 minutes

Soderling keeps dream alive

Soderling keeps dream alive

Robin Soderling continued his stunning run at the French Open with a straight-set victory over Nikolay Davydenko.

The 24-year-old Swede, seeded 23 at Roland Garros, recorded arguably the biggest upset in the tournament's history on Sunday by knocking out world number one and four-time defending champion Rafael Nadal.

And he was in equally imperious form again today to see off Davydenko 6-1 6-3 6-1 on Suzanne Lenglen court and claim his place in the semi-finals, where he will face either Andy Murray or Fernando Gonzalez.

Soderling played out of his skin in his first last-eight match at a grand slam to end Nadal's 31-match unbeaten streak on the Paris clay on Sunday, and continued in much the same vein today.

While some people expected his level to dip, he clearly had other ideas and produced another masterclass of mighty groundstrokes to triumph in just an hour and 41 minutes.

The world number 25 raced through the first set, breaking his Russian opponent twice to wrap it up 6-1 in just 23 minutes.

The second set was a much tighter affair, with the first six games going with serve.

But Soderling, who headed into today's contest buoyed by having beaten Davydenko in three of their five previous meetings including both times on clay, then took control.

He broke the world number 11 in game seven, survived a double fault in a hard-fought game to consolidate at 5-3 and then rounded off the set with a second break.

Davydenko also enjoyed an impressive victory on Sunday, albeit not such a high profile one, seeing off eighth seed Fernando Verdasco with a surprisingly comfortable 6-2 6-2 6-4 win.

But the shellshocked Russian was thoroughly outplayed today and hardly got a look-in in the third set.

He managed only one further game in the match - his first service game of what turned out to be the final set - as Soderling completed the obliteration.

mfl

Davydenko was understandably disappointed to have picked up only five games over the three sets against an opponent he would have been expected to overcome at the start of the tournament.

"I don't know why but it's three times I've lost against him before. I didn't have my best game and that's surprising," he said.

"Maybe his tennis is too fast for me. He had very good control from the baseline."

The Russian denied he was getting ahead of himself and contemplating a place in the final, however.

"I was not thinking about the semi-final or final," he insisted. "Okay, it was not Nadal or (Novak) Djokovic I was playing, but Soderling played well."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Costa Rica vs USA live streams and TV channels

Costa Rica

vs

USA


Date / Time: June 4, 2009 - 8:00am(GMT+6:00)
Competition: World Cup 2010 Qualifying
Live / Repeat: Live
Details: Eliminatoria al Mundial 2010


Costa Rica vs USA live streams and TV channels

Galavision

Galavision
ESPN 360

ESPN 360
ESPN

ESPN
Video Highlights

Video Highlights
» Watch Live
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Stoner wins Italian Grand Prix

Stoner wins Italian Grand Prix

Casey Stoner won a thrilling Italian Grand Prix to bring to an end Valentino Rossi's run of seven straight victories at Mugello.

The Ducati Marlboro rider also took the lead in the FIM MotoGP World Championship points standings after crossing the finish line ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and his Fiat Yamaha team-mate Rossi.

The race started with a wet track and with pole position man Lorenzo having to change his machine after crashing on the out lap.

Lorenzo also made a mess of the start as his Yamaha's rear tyre span on the grid and most of the field passed him.

The critical part of the race came as riders changed from wet tyres to slicks with Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) and Marco Melandri (Hayate Racing) both leading before this point.

But after riders started changing to slick tyres - Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's James Toseland was the first to switch - it was Stoner who slowly began to take control despite having to adjust his slipping clutch during the race.

One of the hardest battles Stoner had was to deal with veteran Italian Loris Capirossi who looked on course for at least a podium finish during the latter part of the race despite his Rizla Suzuki being down on power to his rivals on the long main straight.

Capirossi eventually lost out to Dovizioso for fourth and Colin Edwards passed his team-mate Toseland on the final lap to claim sixth.

Eighth went to Randy De Puniet (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and there was a shock ninth for Niccolo Canepa on the Pramac Ducati.

The top 10 was rounded out by Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki) who challenged for the lead earlier in the race when the circuit was still drying out.

The race ended early for Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) who was left clutching his already injured hip after crashing out.

Men's World Golf Rankings

Men's World Golf Rankings

American Steve Stricker has jumped from 13th to eighth in the world with his play-off victory at the Colonial tournament in Texas.

While surprise European Open champion Christian Cevaer moves up from 449th to 129th.

Stricker's win relegates Open and US PGA champion Padraig Harrington to 10th. He was third last August after his back-to-back major victories.

Latest leading positions:

1 Tiger Woods 9.18pts, 2 Phil Mickelson 8.27, 3 Paul Casey 7.15, 4 Sergio Garcia 6.53, 5 Geoff Ogilvy 6.09, 6 Henrik Stenson 6.06, 7 Kenny Perry 5.75, 8 Steve Stricker 5.65, 9 Vijay Singh 5.23, 10 Padraig Harrington 5.07

11 Camilo Villegas 4.82, 12 Robert Karlsson 4.49, 13 Sean O'Hair 4.47, 14 Jim Furyk 4.41, 15 Anthony Kim 3.90, 16 Ian Poulter 3.81, 17 Rory McIlroy 3.80, 18 Ernie Els 3.73, 19 Zach Johnson 3.73, 20 Lee Westwood 3.68

Other leading Europeans:

21 Luke Donald, 22 Martin Kaymer, 23 Ross Fisher, 24 Alvaro Quiros, 36 Soren Kjeldsen, 38 Miguel Angel Jimenez, 40 Justin Rose, 44 Oliver Wilson, 47 Graeme McDowell, 48 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, 66 Anders Hansen, 67 Soren Hansen, 70 Peter Hanson, 74 Francesco Molinari, 76 Anthony Wall, 84 Thomas Levet, 89 Fredrik Jacobson, 95 Johan Edfors, 100 Darren Clarke

Nadal exit no distraction for Federer

Nadal exit no distraction for Federer

Roger Federer denies there is any extra pressure on him now arch-rival Rafael Nadal is out of the French Open.

Second seed Federer almost followed reigning champion Nadal out of Roland Garros today, the Swiss recovering from two sets down to defeat Germany's Tommy Haas in a fourth-round thriller on Philippe Chatrier court.

The world number two faced a break point at 3-4 down in the third set against Haas, saving it with a wonderful inside-out cross-court forehand.

That was the catalyst for a recovery that puts him back on course to claim the only grand-slam title not in his collection.

But he insists things have not suddenly got easier because Nadal, the deposed king of the Parisian clay, has fallen by the wayside.

"Sure it was a big upset," Federer said of the Spaniard's four-set defeat to unheralded Swede Robin Soderling yesterday.

"But the focus wasn't on that. Of course the dream scenario is to beat Rafa here in the final but I've got to concentrate on my part of the draw and make sure I come through like today.

"Tommy Haas was very good today and that is where my focus was."

Federer did not drop a single point in his first six service games but he still lost the first set, on a tie-break.

He went a break up at the start of the second set but his game suddenly went missing, his returns went awry and Haas seized the initiative.

He broke twice to take the set and capitalised on more Federer foibles to go 40-30 up with the Swiss serving 3-4 down.

Federer's superb forehand saved the day and he won that game, and the following eight, to turn the match on its head.

"In a situation like that, you don't really think about who is out of the draw or not," said the 13-time grand-slam champion.

"You just try to come through yourself and it's hard enough staying positive when you're down two sets to love and a break point.

"It was a great battle for me and I'm thrilled to be through and given another chance."

Federer reckons Nadal's exit will only affect him if he makes Sunday's final. He has lost to the Mallorcan in the last three finals, and in the semi-finals in 2005.

"I'm used to any kind of situation so it doesn't affect me in a big way," he added.

"It definitely changes it up if I were to make the final. But we're not there yet, so honestly it hasn't changed a whole lot for me."

Haas, the world number 63, admitted squandering a great chance to cause an upset.

"It's frustrating because you know you're very close - you win that break point, you are serving for the match," said the 31-year-old, a former world number two.

"So it obviously goes through your head. It hurts. But this is tennis. It's never over until the last point. You've just got to tip your hat and say, 'That's why he's Roger Federer'."

The German added: "(Novak) Djokovic is out, Nadal is out, maybe Roger was feeling it a little bit knowing that this is maybe a great opportunity for him."

In today's other completed last-16 match, 16th seed Tommy Robredo made the quarter-finals here for the fourth time thanks to his 6-4 5-7 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Robredo is the only Spaniard left in the men's draw following the exits of Nadal and Fernando Verdasco yesterday.

Kohlschreiber failed to reproduce the exploits that saw him oust fourth seed Djokovic in the previous round.

Shock exit for Ana Ivanovic

Shock exit for Ana Ivanovic

Defending champion Ana Ivanovic crashed out of the French Open today as she lost in straight sets to Victoria Azarenko.

Eighth seed Ivanovic, who beat Safina in last year's final, stumbled to a 6-2 6-3 defeat to Belarus' Victoria Azarenka hours after the top seed had dropped just one game in her comprehensive thrashing of French hope Aravane Rezai.

Ivanovic admitted she did not feel 100% as her title defence ended on Suzanne Lenglen court.

"I started really well and felt good in the beginning but after the first point of the fourth game, I just started feeling so dizzy and I completely lost my balance," said the Serbian.

"After that, it was really hard. I struggled with looking up. But she played well."

Ivanovic tipped Azarenka, the ninth seed, as a contender for the crown but it is hard to look further than Safina, who she will meet next.

The Russian has dropped just five games in her remorseless march to the quarter-finals and was again in imperious form in her 6-1 6-0 triumph over Rezai.

"I'm feeling very good right now," said the world number one, who swept to victory in less than an hour on Philippe Chatrier court.

"I'm trying to be very professional and not waste energy. I think this is something new to me - before I would maybe just go out there and play and waste my energy.

"No free points, no stupid mistakes. I'm just playing point by point."

Rezai won last week's tournament in Strasbourg and had only dropped one set on the way to the fourth round, but she was powerless to prevent Safina easing to victory.

"I didn't feel helpless and I didn't think it was impossible to defeat her, but she is the world number one and she deserves that ranking," said the 22-year-old from St Etienne.

"I wasn't capable of finding the solutions to put her in a difficult position. I didn't play well."

Azarenka knows she will be up against it when she plays Safina on Tuesday.

"She has been killing people so far. I need to play my best tennis to beat her," she said.

Maria Sharapova fought back from 4-2 down in the third set to oust 25th seed Na Li and set up a last-eight meeting with Dominika Cibulkova.

Former world number one Sharapova, who has slipped to 102 in the rankings after a long spell out with shoulder trouble, won 6-4 0-6 6-4 over the Chinese, despite struggling with cramp to her left thigh in the latter stages.

Sharapova needs the Roland Garros crown to complete her haul of grand slam titles.

Twentieth seed Cibulkova was the first player into the last eight, the Slovakian a convincing 6-2 6-4 winner over 29th seed Agnes Szavay, who dumped out third seed Venus Williams in the previous round.

Cibulkova looked a bag of nerves as she clinched victory on her third match point to reach her first grand slam quarter-final.

"I got so tight because I wanted to win so badly," she said.

Djokovic: I have no excuses

Djokovic: I have no excuses

Novak Djokovic could offer no explanation for his shock third-round defeat to German Philipp Kohlschreiber in the French Open.

The fourth seeded Serbian was upset 6-4 6-4 6-4 by the 29th seed, who has never previously progressed past round two at Roland Garros.

Djokovic was installed by many as second favourite for the title, behind reigning four-time champion Rafael Nadal, given his impressive clay-court campaign this year, but was punished for an error-prone display on Court One.

The 22-year-old dubbed it "a bad day at the office", insisting tiredness was not a factor in his defeat.

"My first two matches went well and I felt good before this match," said Djokovic, who reached the semi-finals here for the last two years.

"Suddenly, it was a different story on the court. I can't really explain why.

"I was too passive and he played really solid. You have to give him credit for playing tactically smart. Unfortunately I had no solutions."

Djokovic, who played in four of the six tournaments prior to Roland Garros, added: "Mentally I'm a little bit exhausted but that's still not an explanation for my loss today.

"I'm one of the favourites to get far in the tournament. This cannot happen."

Kohlschreiber labelled his performance one of the best in his career in a big tournament.

"Everything came together," he said. "Maybe Novak didn't play his best today but every choice I made went on my side."

Kohlschreiber, whose best previous displays at a grand slam have been two last-16 appearances at the Australian Open, will play Spain's Tommy Robredo next. The 16th seed beat Argentina's Maximo Gonzalez 4-6 7-5 6-1 6-0.

Second seed Roger Federer was also in trouble early in his third round match but managed to turn things around to claim a 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-4 over Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu.

It was the second successive match in which Federer was taken to four sets, following on from his distinctly unimpressive display in his win over Jose Acasuso.

The Swiss recovered well, though, and can prepare for a last-16 clash with unseeded German Tommy Haas, a 7-5 6-3 4-6 6-4 winner over another Frenchman, Jeremy Chardy.

Andy Roddick had earlier put his Roland Garros demons behind him to finally make the fourth round.

The sixth seed posted a 6-1 6-4 6-4 victory over Frenchman Marc Gicquel on Suzanne Lenglen court to continue his terrific streak this week.

The American has gone out in the first round in his last two appearances here, in 2006 and 2007, but this week he is disproving the theory he is not a clay-court performer and has yet to drop a set in three matches.

"If you take away this tournament, I have a pretty good clay-court CV," said the 2003 US Open champion, whose best outing at Roland Garros had come in his opening visit, in 2001, when he made the third round.

"I certainly felt capable of making the second week of this event."

Roddick, the 2003 US Open champion and a three-time grand-slam runner-up, added: "I feel like I'm moving a little bit better on this stuff."

Gael Monfils, the 11th seed and a semi-finalist here last year, will be Roddick's next opponent after the Frenchman beat Jurgen Melzer 6-2 4-6 6-3 6-1.

Fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro advanced into the last 16 with an impressive straight-sets victory over Igor Andreev.

Away from the showcourts again today, Del Potro secured a 6-4 7-5 6-4 win on Court Two and will play ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga next.

The popular Frenchman delighted the crowd on Philippe Chatrier court as he eased to a 6-2 6-2 6-2 rout of Belgium's Christophe Rochus.

Jankovic: I let myself down

Jankovic: I let myself down

Unseeded Romanian Sorana Cirstea produced the performance of her life to dump out fifth seed Jelena Jankovic at Roland Garros.

The 19-year-old had not made it past the second round of a grand slam prior to coming to Paris but she now has a great opportunity to make the semi-finals at Roland Garros thanks to her epic 3-6 6-0 9-7 win over Serbia's Jankovic on Suzanne Lenglen court.

The final stages of the encounter were tortuous for Cirstea, who needed three match points to finally get over the line as the tenacious Jankovic dug in.

The Serb admitted afterwards she had been struggling with abdomen and toe pains during the match, and rued her inability to kill off her opponent.

"I kind of let myself down in the second set - I should have won that game at 2-0," said the 24-year-old, a semi-finalist here in 2007 and 2008.

"And then in the third set, I served at 6-5 and I had 30-0 and that's when I should have gone more for my shots."

Reaching the quarter-finals is already a massive achievement for Cirstea but she will fancy her chances of going further.

She will next play Australian 30th seed Samantha Stosur, who thrashed French hope Virginie Razzano 6-1 6-2.

Razzano was one of 19 Frenchwomen to make the main draw but none have qualified for the last eight.

Meanwhile, second seed Serena Williams is bracing herself for a testing quarter-final against in-form Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova after easing through her fourth-round match against Aleksandra Wozniak.

The American needed just 53 minutes to record a 6-1 6-2 win on Philippe Chatrier court.

Kuznetsova, the seventh seed, found things more tricky in her triumph against Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska but the set she lost in the 6-4 1-6 6-1 victory was only the first the Russian had dropped this tournament.

Kuznetsova is also the only woman to defeat world number one Dinara Safina on clay this year.

Williams said: "She's an excellent clay-court player. She's been playing unbelievably well.

"This is when everything counts. I have to pick up my level and play a strong match, especially when playing somebody like Svetlana, who moves extremely well and doesn't do anything bad."

Williams, the 2002 champion here, had a real battle against Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in the third round, coming through in three tight sets.

But she found it much easier here, breaking in games two and six to take the first set comfortably.

Wozniak, the 24th seed, did manage a break herself, in the sixth game of the second set. But that was as good as it got for the Canadian.

"I feel like it was my most focused match so far," Williams said.

Kuznetsova survived a mid-match wobble to defeat Radwanska, the 12th seed.

"I was really nervous today - I don't know why," said Kuznetsova.

"It was tough mentally. In the next match, I cannot allow myself to do this. I'll have to be more prepared."

Kuznetsova lost to Williams in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open earlier this year, and the American has won 10 majors in total down the years.

"Maybe she hasn't played that many tournaments on clay, but you cannot discount her," said Kuznetsova.

"She's a big champion, she's won here and definitely knows how to play on clay."

Nadal: Federer is the favourite

Nadal: Federer is the favourite

Despite Andy Murray's smooth progress to the French Open quarters, Nadal still thinks Federer is the title favorite.

There will be a new name on the trophy this year following Nadal's shock defeat by Sweden's Robin Soderling in the fourth round yesterday.

It has left the door ajar for Murray, who is in Nadal's half of the draw, to stake a serious claim for a first grand slam title of his career, but the Spaniard believes there are other candidates more likely to be his successor.

"(Roger) Federer is the favourite, in my opinion," said the Mallorcan, who was bidding to win in Paris for the fifth year running.

"That would be great. He's tried to win it for many years and he was very unfortunate to lose three finals and one semi-final (all to Nadal).

"If one guy deserves it, it's him. There is also (Nikolay) Davydenko. (Juan Martin) Del Potro is there I think. We will see."

Murray's name was conspicuous by its absence but the Scot certainly has a great chance now.

The third seed set up a quarter-final meeting with Chile's Fernando Gonzalez thanks to yesterday's straight-sets win over Marin Cilic.

Gonzalez, the 12th seed, earned his place in the last eight by hitting 50 winners in a 6-2 6-4 6-2 victory over beleaguered 30th seed Victor Hanescu.

Murray became the third British man, after Roger Taylor in 1973 and Tim Henman in 2004, to reach this stage at Roland Garros.

"Every time you do something like that, it's nice," said Murray.

"Tim obviously made the semis here so it would nice to try and match that.

"I always felt I could play well on clay."

Murray is scheduled to play Gonzalez tomorrow. They have met each other twice before, the Briton winning in the third round of the US Open in 2006 and the South American triumphing in Basle in 2005.

Second seed Federer, who needs to win the French Open to complete his set of grand slam titles and join Pete Sampras on 14 major wins, takes on unseeded Tommy Haas today.

It was a bad day for the reigning champions all round yesterday - Ana Ivanovic was dumped out of the women's singles in straight sets by Victoria Azarenka.
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