Andy Murray saw off a fired-up Fernando Verdasco in straight sets to reach the quarter-finals of the French Open. The Wimbledon champion came through 6-4 7-5 7-6 (7-3) and will next face Frenchman Gael Monfils on Wednesday.
In the third set Murray conceded a point after a disputed line call to a furious Verdasco, before the Spaniard broke back in the next game. Briton Murray weathered the storm, however, and won the tie-break to seal victory in two hours and 54 minutes. Murray, 27, improved his record against Verdasco to 10-1 as he again had too much for the 24th seed. He had come back from two sets down in their last meeting on his way to Wimbledon victory last summer, and the 30-year-old Spaniard might have fancied his chances in their first meeting on clay. It proved to be more one-sided encounter than on the grass, however, as Murray constantly threatened the Verdasco serve and became more comfortable on his own.
Murray made a slow start, seeing off three break points in the first game before swapping breaks in games three and four, but from then on it was the Scot who was in charge. He attacked the Spaniard’s weaker backhand side to break at 4-4, and pounced when his opportunity came at 5-5 in the second after a couple more loose efforts from his opponent. The Briton chased down a lob on his way to converting set point, and the pressure only built on the increasingly frustrated Verdasco in the third. He reached boiling point in game seven, heading to his chair after saving three break points – making it 10 for the set – only to find the umpire had called a serve out.
A furious tirade followed and Murray conceded the point having checked the mark, something he presumably regretted a few minutes later when a still fuming Verdasco broke back for 4-4. The danger signs were flashing for the Briton but he calmly served his way to a tie-break, and then resumed his dominance. A brilliant backhand cross-court pass gave him an early break and, after a 3-0 lead disappeared, he began looping balls and tempting Verdasco into errors. A Verdasco forehand into the net duly gave Murray three match points, and the Scot smashed away a winner. Verdasco was unhappy with the speed of the surface having played on the main Philippe Chatrier Stadium on Sunday. -thenews