sport

Magic Murray marches on

Andy Murray beat Spain's Fernando Verdasco in straight sets to reach the French Open quarter-finals for the fourth time in his career.

The British No 1 produced a quite superb performance to claim a 6-4 7-5 7-6 (7/3) victory, improving his head-to-head record against Verdasco to 10-1 and securing a 13th consecutive grand slam quarter-final appearance.

Murray will now face home favourite Gael Monfils in the last eight, but will do so full of confidence after one of his finest displays on the clay at Roland Garros.

A keenly-contested first set saw the players swap early breaks before Murray made a decisive move in the ninth game.

Verdasco looked in little danger when 40-15 up on serve, but Murray forced his way back into the game and broke when the Spaniard netted a backhand before serving out to love to move a set up.

The second remained on serve until the 11th game, although Murray did create a break-point opportunity with Verdasco serving at 4-4 only to send a backhand return long.

Verdasco would hold on that occasion, but Murray did break through two games later when the Spaniard netted a backhand volley from a clever floated pass by his rival.

The Scot did not have things all his own way in trying to serve out with Verdasco saving his first two set-points, but he would take his third opportunity as he guided a half-court backhand down the line for a winner.

With the momentum very much on his side, Murray then forced a break in the opening game of the third set after a huge backhand winner left Verdasco 0-40 behind.

Disputed line call

He converted at the second time of asking, a deep inside-out forehand drawing the error from his opponent who could only find the net with an attempted forehand.

Verdasco did stop the rot as he fought back from 15-40 down at 0-2 to secure a much-needed hold and then fended off a further five Murray break-points in his next service game to remain on the British No 1's coat tails at 2-3.

While Murray continued to hold with relative ease, the Spaniard again faced multiple break-points in his next service game but eventually came through after his opponent sportingly conceded a point following a disputed line call from a Verdasco serve - the Spaniard having become embroiled in a heated argument with umpire Pascal Maria before Murray's intervention.

It did not appear such a sensible gesture when the fired-up Spaniard broke Murray's serve to level in the next and then held to move 5-4 ahead.

The set would eventually head into a tie-break and Murray claimed a mini-break straightaway after manufacturing a brilliant backhand pass.

A monster forehand winner got Verdasco back on terms, but the Spaniard then coughed up two successive errors after Murray had opted to loft a series of 'moon balls' at his opponent.

That left the Scot serving with three match-points in hand and he duly took the first after putting away an emphatic overhead.

Murray's next opponent, Monfils, emerged a convincing winner, defeating Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-0 6-2 7-5 in just under two hours.

The result never looked in doubt after the popular Frenchman raced through the opening set in just 22 minutes and, although Garcia-Lopez offered rather sterner resistance in the third, Monfils came through to ensure his third quarter-final appearance on home soil.