PARIS • World No. 1 Andy Murray made short work of unseeded Russian Karen Khachanov yesterday to reach the French Open quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory.
The Scot largely dispensed with the chuntering and lapses that accompanied his first two matches as he maintained the momentum established in beating Juan Martin del Potro with an assured display on Court Philippe Chatrier.
The 30-year-old made only one unforced error in pocketing the opening set and although he did drop serve late in the second, he broke back immediately to take complete control of his first meeting with the talented Russian.
The powerful 21-year-old Khachanov, playing in his third Grand Slam event, showed flashes of brilliance in the sunshine but not for long enough spells to worry Murray, who is through to the quarter-finals for the seventh time.
"I wanted to try to change the pace of the shots a little because he is a big hitter. When the ball's in the same place, he gets a good rhythm and is very powerful," Murray said of Khachanov.
"It was pretty windy out there. But I hit the ball pretty well for the most part. You always have to expect guys to fight hard. This court is quite different to the ones we play on in Rome and Madrid. It's quite big, it can get windy. It's not easy to play on."
Murray also paid an emotional on-court tribute to the victims of the recent terror attacks in London and Manchester, and said that he is grateful that tennis fans are still out in full force to support the game.
Men's 4th rd: Kei Nishikori (Jpn) bt Fernando Verdasco (Esp) 0-6 6-4 6-4 6-0, Andy Murray (Gbr) bt Karen Khachanov (Rus) 6-3 6-4 6-4, Marin Cilic (Cro) bt Kevin Anderson (Rsa) 6-3 3-0 ret, Stan Wawrinka (Sui) bt Gael Monfils (Fra) 7-5 7-6 (9-7) 6-2.
Women's 4th rd: Elina Svitolina (Ukr) bt Petra Martic (Cro) 4-6 6-3 7-5, Simona Halep (Rom) bt Carla Suarez Navarro (Esp) 6-1 6-1.
"Obviously there was a terrible tragedy in London, and in Manchester six or seven days ago. Paris has had its problems too in recent years," he said.
"I am sure everyone will share in thoughts and prayers for everyone who has been affected.
"I appreciate everyone still coming out to support the tennis. I am grateful that I can still perform in front of everyone."
Murray's victory was a 650th Tour-level win for the Scot, who will face Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals after the Japanese fought back from a set down to win 0-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 against Spain's Fernando Verdasco.
On facing Murray, Nishikori said: "It's going to be a tough match, but I'm starting to play better and I'm very happy with my tennis right now.
"I'm very confident and hopefully we can have a great match."
In the women's competition, Romanian Simona Halep established her credentials to become the newest French Open champion with a blistering 6-1, 6-1 victory over Carla Suarez-Navarro of Spain to reach the quarter-finals.
"I was expecting a tough game against a very good clay-court player," Halep, who will become the new world No. 1 if she wins the title, said.
"But I managed to push her back. I think I played the best match here in Roland Garros against Carla. I served well and opened up the court. And on clay I (have) never won against her, so it was a really good match."
She will face Elina Svitolina after the Ukrainian defeated Petra Martic of Croatia 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN
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