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Murray battles into last eight

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 29-05-2016 skysports.com

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Getty
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Andy Murray booked his place in the quarter-finals of the French Open with a straight sets win over John Isner at Roland Garros. 

Murray will play fifth seed Kei Nishikori or France's last hope Richard Gasquet in the last eight after a 7-6 (11-9) 6-4 6-3 victory.

Straight sets it might have been, but this was no Sunday afternoon Parisian stroll for the No 2 seed - he had to scrap for everything against the American, who missed a number of glorious chances to extend the Scot much further.

But after two gruelling five-set victories in the first two rounds, Murray will be relieved to have won his last two matches in straight sets as he bids to conserve energy for the second week.

Murray was red hot favourite, but Isner went for broke from the off, very much the aggressor against the counter-punching No 2 seed.

Neither men could break in a tense first set, which was decided by a stunning tie-break. Murray looked in total charge as he opened up a 5-2 lead, but some wild shots handed the American four straight points.

On set point, Isner sent a thunderbolt serve wide to Murray's backhand, which the Scot somehow prodded back, but only mid-court. The American, with the court at his mercy, pushed the ball nervously back to Murray's backhand and the No 2 seed passed superbly down the line.

The tension was clearly getting to Murray, who was complaining to himself, his coaching team and the crowd at every opportunity.

Murray had to save two more set points, and missed one of his own at 8-7 up. But a big Murray serve put him 10-9 up and a loose inside-out forehand from Isner handed him the set.

Murray then held twice to go 2-1 up in the second, and he had scrapped his way to deuce in the fourth game on Isner's serve when the heavens opened. 

After an hour's break, Isner returned and held, and negotiated a tricky eighth game from 0-30, three massive first serves and a delicious drop shot denying Murray.

But at 4-5, after 21 consecutive holds, Isner's resistance came to an end. At 30-30 he dumped a simple forehand into the net, and after an exchange of drop shots Murray volleyed a winner to move two sets up.

Murray broke again at 2-1 in the third as Isner wilted, the American chipping a tired drop shot into the net.

And Murray then turned the screw, manoeuvring Isner - who had needed five sets to overcome Teymuraz Gabashvili in the third round - around the court mercilessly and grinding the exhausted American down.

Isner had one last sniff of a chance at 2-4, earning two break points, but Murray snuffed them out with an ace and another nerveless volley. And the 29-year-old served out in his next service game to advance.

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