British fourth-seed Andy Murray clawed his way into the French Open quarter-finals with a courageous 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 defeat of Serbian 15th-seed Victor Troicki.
Murray’s participation in the match, held over from Monday, had been threatened by a pre-match 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. 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.
Murray has a 6-1 record against Chela, having beaten him at Roland Garros in both 2009 and 2010, and said the knowledge the Argentine was awaiting him in the last-eight was a motivating factor in his comeback against Troicki.
However, Murray has admitted that his troublesome ankle will be a source of concern when he meets Chela for a place in the semi-finals today.
“The problem is if you go over on the ankle again, it’s dangerous,” said Murray. “It’s one thing I have to be careful with. Going over on it again would be an issue.”
Defending champion Francesca Schiavone battled from a set down to defeat Russian teenager Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in order to reach the semi-final.
The 30-year-old clinched a 1-6, 7-5, 7-5 win in a mistake-strewn quarter-final that featured 13 breaks of serve and 79 unforced errors.
“It was very difficult for me at the start of the match,” said Schiavone. “I haven’t been playing well on centre court, but I hope to do better in the semi-finals.”
Sharapova vows to make clay mark in Paris
Maria Sharapova has vowed to put years of claycourt under-achievement behind her, starting with victory over German 15th-seed Andrea Petkovic in today’s quarter-final.
The former world number one edged Polish 12th-seed Agnieszka Radwanska 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 in the fourth round. Sharapova has a 3-1 win-loss record against Petkovic, who stunned the Russian in straight sets in the last-16 at this year’s Australian Open.
“She’s quite good on this surface and moves well, and she’ll use that to her advantage,” said Sharapova. “It’ll be tough but I’ll go out and try to win that match.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2011.
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