Murray eases past Khachanov
Originally published on 05/06/17 00:00
The world No.1, who has now racked up 650 career wins, soaked up the pressure from his Russian opponent and counter-punched with trademark efficiency. His next challenge will come from No.8 seed, Kei Nishikori, on Wednesday.
Murray was watertight in the opening set. He made a miserly one unforced-error and extracted mistakes from his younger rival, who was playing against a top-five player for the first time.
Khachanov rarely wavered from his attack-minded strategy however he struggled to puncture the Murray defence with any great regularity. He battled gamely, but his time on Philippe-Chatrier Court lasted just over two hours.
"I think today was probably the best I have played overall," said Murray. "It was difficult conditions. It was pretty windy out there and it wasn't easy. Each match I feel like I played better. I have hit the ball cleaner and started to see the right shots at the right moments. I've come a long way the past 10 days or so.”
Nishikori recovered from a horror first set to defeat Fernando Verdasco 0-6 6-4 6-4 6-0 and reach the last eight in Paris.
The Japanese was out-of-sorts in the first set as he struggled to keep the ball in court, but as the match progressed his famed shotmaking became more prominent. In a contest filled with baseline rallies capable of making any highlight reel, it was the No.8 seed that emerged victorious.
"I lost my mind, after 6-0 down,” remarked Nishikori. "I knew I had to change something. I tried to play deeper and more aggressive, and little by little, I got better today."
Stan Wawrinka continues to power his way through the draw. The Swiss defeated Gael Monfils 7-5 7-6(7) 6-2 to set up a last eight showdown with Marin Cilic.
The former champion was in full flow for the majority of the match and his forehand was particularly impressive. It’s now eight wins in a row for the 32-year-old, and he is yet to drop a set in the tournament.
After another commanding display, Wawrinka said: "We have practised a lot together, I was expecting a tough match. That’s how it proved. I’m really pleased to get through. Gael has got a great forehand, he’s one of the best defender on tour. I knew I had to impose my game on him and send a message that he was going to have to hang tough for three hours if he wanted to beat me."
Cilic is into his first French Open quarter-final at the 11th attempt. He won via retirement after Kevin Anderson stopped midway through the second set with an unspecified injury. The Croatian was 6-3 3-0 ahead when the match came to an abrupt end.