By Tom Williams (AFP) – May 31, 2011
PARIS — Scottish fourth seed Andy Murray clawed his way into the French Open quarter-finals on Tuesday with a courageous 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 defeat of Serbian 15th seed Viktor Troicki.
Murray's participation in the match, held over from Monday, had been threatened by an ankle injury, but he battled back from 5-2 down in the deciding set to set up a last-eight clash with unseeded Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela.
"It was an incredible comeback," said Murray, who went over on his right ankle in his third-round match with Germany's Michael Berrer.
"I didn't know how my ankle would react. I had to battle. Things fell in my favour, so I'm happy.
"I had to attack from the start to turn things around today. I was a bit too hesitant at the start. Then I started to go for my shots a bit more and he got a bit nervous."
Victory keeps Murray on course for a semi-final meeting with top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal, as he bids to go beyond the last eight at Roland Garros for the first time in his career.
The three-time Grand Slam runner-up has a 6-1 record against Chela, the world number 34, and beat him at Roland Garros in both 2009 and 2010.
"I feel really disappointed now," said a crestfallen Troicki.
"I was just two points away (from victory) on my serve. He played it risky, I was a bit nervous, and he took advantage of it."
Resuming at two sets all after fading light stopped play on Monday evening, Troicki had to produced some pummelling groundstrokes to save break points in each of his opening two service games.
Troicki was denied a 0-15 lead on Murray's serve in game six when a ballboy inadvertently ran on to the court while he was mid-smash, but recovered to break for a 4-2 lead when Murray netted a forehand from the back of the court.
The Scot threatened to break back in the next game but Troicki saved his third break point of the set before finishing a taut rally with a skidding backhand winner to move 5-2 ahead.
Having fought back from two sets and a break down to level the match on Monday, Murray found himself requiring another improbable escape act.
Despite holding for 5-3, he looked destined for the exit at 0-30 down on Troicki's serve, but fought back to 40-30 up and secured the break back when the Serbian patted a tame attempted drop shot into the net.
Troicki, who won Serbia's crucial point in the 2010 Davis Cup final win over France, appeared to lose faith thereafter and conceded a break to give Murray a 6-5 lead when he found the net with a backhand.
Murray spurned three match points in the next game before finally prevailing with a sensational crosscourt backhand winner from well behind the baseline to seal victory in a time of three hours and 56 minutes.
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