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Paris – Andy Murray overcame a hesitant start to reach the French Open quarter-finals on Monday with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 win over Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
The fourth seed had looked all at sea for a set and a half before the fourth round clash turned dramatically late in the second set as Murray found his touch and Gasquet totally lost his.
The win means that Murray has reached a Grand Slam quarter-final for the sixth straight time, with Spanish sixth seed David Ferrer waiting for him as his opponent.
For Gasquet there was the disappointment of failing to join countryman Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in the last eight. The last time two Frenchman made the quarter-finals at Roland Garros was in 1990.
“He started very, very well, went for his shots, high risk and was playing unbelievable,” Murray said of his opponent.
“I was lucky to turn it around at the end of the second set and then I started to play a lot better.”
Murray, who has been struggling with back spasms since arriving in Paris, got off to the most hesitant of starts in the cold, windy conditions and Gasquet found himself 3-0 up without having done that much.
The Scot opened his account in the next game, but he was broken again two games later as Gasquet put away a one-sided first set in just 29 minutes.
Murray, a semi-finalist last year, served well to take an early lead in the second set and then broke to go 4-2 up.
But in a worrying flashback to the probems that beset him in his opening round win over Jarkko Niemenen, Murray lost his own serve in the following game and started clutching at his troublesome back.
Gasquet, however, had strangely gone off the boil by this stage in the gloomy conditions and failed to take advantage of the Scot's apparent discomfort.
A flashing Murray forehand on the run helped bring up set point at 5-4 and after Gasquet saved once, he double-faulted tamely on the second set point against him.
Murray quickly opened up a 5-0 lead as he dominated the rallies with his sharp angles and drop shots bamboozling Gasquet.
The Frenchman finally stopped a run of seven straight games for Murray, but the Scot went two sets to one up on serve in the following game.
The home crowd tried to revive Gasquet as the fourth set got underway and he shakily held serve, but two games later a couple of glaring errors from Gasquet handed Murray the final break he needed. – Sapa-AFP