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Super Murray into quarter-finals

FRENCH OPEN
Venue: Roland Garros Date: 24 May - 7 June
Coverage: Live on BBC Red Button, live streaming and daily text commentary on BBC Sport website, updates on BBC Radio 5 Live plus second week commentary on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra. TV coverage on Eurosport.

Andy Murray

Highlights - Murray storms past Cilic (UK only)

By David Ornstein

Britain's Andy Murray produced another clinical display to beat Marin Cilic 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 and reach the French Open quarter-finals for the first time.

The first set was a tale of two in-form players exchanging blows but Murray broke at 5-5 before serving out.

Murray took the second set on a tie-break after breaks were exchanged and the third seed stormed past a deflated Cilic in the third to wrap up victory.

The world number three meets Fernando Gonzalez in the last eight on Tuesday.

Gonzalez, the 12th seed from Chile, claimed an emphatic 6-2 6-4 6-2 win against Victor Hanescu.

The pair have played twice previously - Gonzalez triumphed in Basel in 2005 and Murray in New York in 2006 - but never on clay.

I'm playing well - you don't get to the quarters of the French Open by not playing good clay-court tennis

Andy Murray

Murray will take great confidence from his defeat of 13th seed Cilic, who was yet to drop a set all tournament and had only seen his serve broken three times in the process.

The Scot becomes only the third British man to make the Roland Garros quarter-finals in the Open era here, after Roger Taylor in 1973 and Tim Henman in 2004.

"I played maybe two bad service games but you are always going to get moments like that in a best-of-five-set match," said Murray.

"I was obviously happy to win in straight sets because he's been playing very well.

Interview: Andy Murray

"I'm playing well - you don't get to the quarters of the French by not playing good clay-court tennis."

The Scot got off to a fine start by pinning Cilic to the baseline with a succession of deep groundstrokes, which helped him earn two break points in game one.

The first was saved but Murray then illustrated why many regard him as the finest defender on the men's tour - scampering after a rasping Cilic forehand, lobbing a return to just inside the baseline, taking control of the rally and forcing his opponent to net.

Cilic, a 6ft 6in right-hander, responded aggressively and broke straight back with a superb return that Murray, digging it out from his feet, could only net.

Marin Cilic receives treatment
Cillic called for the trainer to treat a thigh injury in the third set

The contest finally settled into some sort of rhythm as Cilic, who beat Murray in the semi-finals of the junior tournament at Roland Garros in 2005, held to 30 and the British number one to love.

Both players attempted to shake things up by employing the drop shot but Murray, whose speed around the court has improved considerably in recent months, always looked more comfortable in such situations.

A commanding hold drew Murray level at 5-5 and he brought up two break points when Cilic went wide with a forehand and long with two backhands.

Cilic saved the first when Murray went long but Murray used his inside-out forehand to target his opponent's second serve and Cilic again went long with a backhand.

Murray wrapped up the set with an unreturnable serve and his purple patch continued after the changeover.

Cilic started the second set with a love hold but Murray comfortably levelled at 1-1 and then cranked up the pressure to break for a 2-1 lead with a magnificent forehand cross-court winner.

606: DEBATE
worststripineurope

Much to his credit, Cilic worked tirelessly to force his way back into the match and was rewarded in game eight when Murray went wide to hand back the break.

Cilic showed plenty of character to save break points at 4-4 and 5-5 before pushing hard for what would have been a decisive break.

But Murray kept his composure to force a tie-break and, after going down a mini-break at 2-2, Cilic was swiftly dispatched.

Murray was on the back foot for much of his first service game in the third set and Cilic earned a deserved break point.

But that was saved with an cool ace out wide and Murray, whose movement and shot selection was improving all the time, reasserted his authority with an inside-out forehand winner to move 1-0 up.

Cilic had shown throughout that he was liable to producing the odd sluggish service game and one duly arrived, allowing Murray to break to 15.

By this point the 20-year-old, who called for the trainer to treat a thigh problem, had let his head drop and a double fault followed by a netted forehand gave Murray the double break and a 4-0 lead.

Breaks were exchanged as Murray closed in on victory and that was secured when the right-hander from Dunblane served out, Cilic blasting another forehand long on match point number two.



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see also
Murray breaks new ground in Paris
29 May 09 |  Tennis
Battling Murray sees off Starace
27 May 09 |  Tennis
Ruthless Murray storms past Chela
24 May 09 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis


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