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Hand of Stone smites Murray's French bid

BRITISH No1 Andy Murray admitted having no answer to the sheer power of 12th seed Fernando Gonzalez after seeing his dream of French Open glory die at the quarter-final stage.<br /><br />Murray slugged his way back into the match after dropping the first set but wilted in his attempt to contend with the brute force of the Chilean nicknamed &lsquo;Hand of Stone&rsquo;, losing 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, 6-4.<br /><br />&ldquo;I have to give him a lot of credit. I&rsquo;ve played against him before and he hits it hard, but today he was hitting it huge,&rdquo; said the Scot.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s easy to look from the side and think you could have done this, you could have done that, but the guy was just hitting it so hard.<br /><br />&ldquo;I guess he&rsquo;s a better clay-court player. I think I had my chances but didn&rsquo;t take them and he came up with some big shots in the meantime.<br /><br />&ldquo;The start of the third set was disappointing. I had a couple of chances to hold serve and I didn&rsquo;t take them, and at the end of the match I played poorly.&rdquo;<br /><br />Defeat denied Murray the chance to equal Tim Henman&rsquo;s achievement of reaching the semi-finals at Roland Garros, although a last-eight place still represents his best career performance at the Paris Grand Slam.<br /><br />The world No3 came into the match knowing his path to the final had been eased by Sunday&rsquo;s shock elimination of four-time champion Rafael Nadal, who he had been drawn to meet in the last four.<br /><br />But Murray constantly battled to hold his serve as Gonzalez pumped forehand winner after forehand winner, the South American relenting only to play some superbly disguised drop-shots.<br /><br />Gonzalez will now meet Nadal&rsquo;s conqueror Robin Soderling in the semi-finals, after the Swedish 23rd seed thrashed Russian 10th seed Nikolay Davydenko 6-1, 6-3, 6-1.<br /><br />Women&rsquo;s world No1 Dinara Safina had to come from behind to beat ninth seed Victoria Azarenka, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 and set up a semi-final against 20th seed Dominika Cibulkova, who made light work of Maria Sharapova.