Andy Murray reached the semi-finals of the French Open for the third time after a hard-fought victory over David Ferrer.
Murray, 28, beat Spain’s Ferrer 7-5, 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 to set up a semi-final meeting with Novak Djokovic who earlier beat reigning champion Rafael Nadal in straight sets.
The win was Murray’s first over Ferrer on clay after losing his previous four encounters with the Spaniard.
“I feel like I understand how I have to play on the surface better than in the past”, said a jubilant Murray who is into his 16th Grand Slam semi-final.
“Winning against David here, a player that I have lost against on that same court a few years ago, was a completely different match this time around.”
Murray’s form on clay this season has been fantastic and he showed no signs that it was about to end anytime soon, breaking serve in the first game before racing into a 3-1 lead.
Ferrer soon started to find his feet though and won his service game to love to make it 5-5 after Murray missed his chance to win the set 6-4. Murray then won the subsequent tie-break 7-4 to clinch the first set.
The second was more straightforward; Murray hit an array of fine shots to control the set and with Ferrer’s serve letting him down, Murray took advantage to win 6-2, sealing it with a stunning cross-court forehand winner.
Murray then had match point in the third set but Ferrer fought back to save it before breaking Murray and holding his own serve to take it 7-5.
But any hopes of a Ferrer comeback were dashed. His serving game throughout troubled him; he made 11 double faults and won only 33% of the points on his second serve.
Murray was relentless in the fourth set, hitting winner after winner to cruise into a 5-0 lead before finding himself with two match points which he duly took to take the final set 6-1 and set-up a meeting with his old foe Novak Djokovic in Friday’s semi-final, a match he is relishing.
“I'm going to need a good game plan and I'm going to need to stick to it. Going into the match having not lost on clay this year and having some big wins on the surface is important for me."
Friday’s other semi-final sees Stanislas Wawrinka take on the home crowd favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.