Murray, Wawrinka into last-eight, Gasquet sees off Nishikori
Paris: World number two Andy Murray and defending champion Stan Wawrinka reached the French Open quarter-finals as Richard Gasquet kept alive hopes of a first home triumph in 33 years by knocking out Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
Murray made the last-eight for the sixth time with a 7-6 (11/9) 6-4 6-3 win over John Isner of the United States yesterday.
The 29-year-old, a three-time semi-finalist, will face Gasquet, the last French player standing, in the last-eight.
Murray has a 7-3 career lead over the 29-year-old Gasquet, including wins at Roland Garros in 2010 and 2012.
Gasquet outplayed fifth seed Nishikori 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.
The ninth seed had trailed Nishikori 2-4 early in the first set, but after an hour-long rain delay, he won nine out of the next 10 games to turn the match on its head.
“I started badly, but everyone helped me and it was difficult for Nishikori to play against that,” he said.
“He re-started badly (after the rain) and that gave me confidence to play my game and go for my shots.”
The last French winner of the men’s singles title at Roland Garros was Yannick Noah in 1983.
Murray will be playing in his 20th quarter-final at the last 21 majors after braving an Isner storm in the first set where he faced down three set points in the tie-breaker.
Isner was bidding to become the first American man in the last-eight in Paris since Andre Agassi in 2003.
– Rain delay –
Having not allowed Murray a single break point, the 31-year-old squandered the three set points before the British star pounced to pocket the opener.
Rain forced the pair off Suzanne Lenglen court for an hour with Murray 2-1 ahead in the second set before Isner was broken for the first time in the 10th game.
Murray broke for 3-1 in the third while Isner clung on saving two more break points in the sixth game.
But the world number two wrapped up victory — and his sixth win in six clashes with the big American — with his ninth ace of the tie.