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Andy's European conquer quest has come to a somewhat premature end. As pessimistic as I was about his chances, he's proven us wrong these past weeks.

Madrid ended before it started -- pundits had yet another field day, going on and on about Andy's decline, his "mojo" still missing, etc.

Forget about Spain, next stop, France - a place where Andy hasn't been able to score any satisfactory results in the past.
Lyon proved to be a success. It was Andy's first time playing in the tourney, and despite not having to play too many 'quality' players (he only faced 1 seeded player, Mario Ancic throughout the tournament), there were a few surprise obstacles in the form of French players, who can play freakishly well on their day, and with the added element of the backing of the home crowd, the task was not as easy as it seemed, bearing in mind how Andy's confidence took a major dip at the USO.

There were doubts on whether Andy would play Paris after one cheeky comment from Monsieur Roddick ("I'm keeping my options open...") and thus all the speculations. Imagine how the organizers were sweating over Andy's participation, after the withdrawals of Federer, Nadal, Hewitt, Safin, Agassi, Moya, Gasquet, Henman,...

But, Monsieur Roddick did show up. Receiving a 1R BYE, 1st up -- Taylor Dent, who somehow scored an upset against home favourite, Seb Grosjean. A rusty performance by Andy -- but a great show of perseverance, saving 8 BPs in the 3rd set alone. Another TB lost did provide some moments of nervousness, giving some flashbacks from 2 weeks back, the lost to Ivo Karlovic.
Next up, Dominik Hrbaty. A perfect display from Andy - a match where every ball went to wherever Andy wished it to land at. Only dropped a handful of points on his own serve -- Only a few missed 1st serves.
Quarter-finals, saw a new match-up between Andy and Spaniard, David Ferrer. The 2 had never met before, and from the word start, it was painful to watch. Get broken right away, the problem was obvious to see -- Andy could barely move around, struggling to get to balls that he could normally get to. Before Ferrer served for the 1st set, a trainer was called - Andy needed treatment for his back. Andy struggled on, and miraculously grinded out a break in the 2nd to take set 6-3, and taking the 3rd in a TB, after 1 break down at 5-3, and saving 2 MPs in the TB.
SF looked like an impossible match to play with his back still struggling, against Ljubicic. Broken right away, the tone was set for the rest of the match. Despite Andy being able to hold serve much easier, he didn't get much look on Ljubicic's serve either. Another injury time-out almost spelt the end of Andy's hope... Andy lost the match 6-3 7-5 -- not to shabby a display despite struggling to with his mobility on court.

Some positives can be taken out of these couple of weeks -- he proves he CAN play in Europe, AND win. Hope that the injury set-back won't dent his confidence in any way...

Next stop -- Shanghai *fingers-crossed*
 
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