Andy Murray claimed that his defensive qualities were the key to beating Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the fourth round of the French Open as they helped him to combat tiredness from his previous match.
The Briton played for the third consecutive day at Roland Garros on Monday after his third-round match against German 28th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber was halted at 7-7 in the fifth set on Saturday evening before he returned to win the deciding set 12-10 on Sunday.
The 27-year-old then completed a 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 win over Verdasco on Court Suzanne Lenglen on Monday to advance to the quarter-finals, where he will face Gael Monfils of France.
Beating the 24th seed means that the reigning Wimbledon champion is now one victory away from reaching his second semi-final at the tournament and he was satisfied with how he dealt with the element of fatigue after his victory over Kohlschreiber.
"I was tired after the match against Kohlschreiber. It was a long match. It was mentally draining as well when you don't have that day to recover and you're coming back on court at 7-7," the seventh seed was quoted by Sky Sports.
"Obviously you think about the match a lot in that period between when you stop and once you get back out on the court and then the 45 minutes or so that you're on the court is very tense as well.
"I thought I dictated as many points as I could today. It's not always possible, because you're playing against top tennis players. He's got a lot of firepower as well. I did a good job of that. It was a very good match. He can make you do a lot of running and you need to try to combat that sometimes playing good offence and sometimes by defending properly. Defence is the most important thing in all sports."
There were difficult moments for the world number eight, as his serve was broken twice, including when he was leading 4-3 in the third set, offering his opponent a potential route back into the match.
Chances were also missed by the 2012 US Open champion to build on his break advantage in that set, as he squandered three break points at 4-2 with that particular game ending with a sporting gesture from Murray.
Verdasco’s serve was called out when he held a game-point, but the decision was then over-ruled by umpire Pascal Maria, who then ordered the point to be replayed.
That decision provoked fury from Verdasco, but Murray then decided to concede the point and the game and he felt it was a difficult but fair decision.
"It's a very grey area, because the call came before I made contact with the ball. If the call comes before you make contact with the ball, then it's a let. It was a great serve and I mis-hit the ball. It didn't go in. I gave him the point."
Monfils set up the meeting with Murray by defeating Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 to reach his fourth quarter-final at his home Grand Slam.
The match will be a repeat of Murray’s first ever match at Roland Garros in 2006, where he lost to the home favourite in five sets in a first-round battle.
Their quarter-final on Wednesday will be the sixth meeting between the pair, with Murray leading 3-2 on their head-to-head battles, although Monfils won their last match at the Paris Masters in 2010.
The winner of that match in the last eight will face either reigning eight-time champion Rafael Nadal or his fellow Spaniard David Ferrer and their quarter-final will be a repeat of last year’s final.
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