Murray slips to Simon defeat

The world No 4 trailed from the start of both sets against Simon, who he had beaten in a series of previous matches, and the French eighth seed ruthlessly closed out a 6-4 6-2 win in Rotterdam. ??

Starting the match in a listless manner, Murray surrendered his serve in the very first game, netting a backhand to concede a break without winning a point.

Simon had no such trouble on his own serve and forged a commanding 4-1 lead with a further break after Murray sliced a backhand wide.

Despite a string of mistakes, the Scot still gained a foothold, bringing up a break of his own with a sweeping backhand which he converted to reduce the deficit. ??????

But Simon retained his composure as his lead was trimmed to 5-4 and served out the first set, taking it with a booming forehand.

Murray???s sliced backhand, normally an accurate weapon, was proving particularly wayward and he conceded yet another break in the opening game of the second set.

Worse was to follow in the third game as Simon broke once more, with Murray???s lashed forehand hitting the tape and bouncing out. ????

The British No 1 managed to haul back one break as he battled against defeat, but yet another sloppy backhand allowed Simon to serve for the match and Murray fittingly netted a forehand to seal his fate.

Simon will play defending champion Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals. Berdych beat France’s Gael Monfils 6-1 6-4 earlier on Friday to stay on track to retain his title.