Andy Murray fought-off Marin Cilic 7-6, (8-6) 3-6, 6-3 to move into the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters tennis tourney. The Englishman will face local favourite Gael Monfils, who beat Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, in the last four.
In an enthralling match, Murray's battling was what earned him the place in the quarters after Croatian Marin Cilic played some of his best tennis to frustrate the Englishman.
So much that, Murray earned a warning from the umpire after he went a bit too far. As players often do, Murray lashed out hitting the ball towards the net after dropping serve in game five, but he froze when he saw the ball hurtling towards a ball boy, only just missing him. The umpire gave the Englishman a warning for code violation amidst whistles from the French crowd.
The Croatian took a 5-3 lead in the first set, but Murray fought back to force him to serve out. In the tie-breaker, Cilic went on the offensive and got himself a 4-0 lead. But he looked light and some wild forehands didn't help him, allowing Murray to comeback. At 6-5, the Croatian had a set point but missed it allowing Murray to win the tiebreak 8-6.
Cilic's forehand was what cost him in the tie-breaker and it was a problem which came back to haunt him in the final set. The Croatian took the second set after breaking Murray, but those wild forehands in the final set allowed the Englishman break him in the decider. Murray made no mistake to book his place in the quarters.
I just found a way to win, which is really important, said Murray. I haven't always done that this year.
I served well in the final set but he played all the good points. He had the chances. He served for the first set. He was up 4-0 in the tie-break, Murray added after the match which lasted two hours and 18 minutes.
When he served for the first set he made quite a few quite bad mistakes. It's one of these courts, against him, if you let him dictate - which I did most of the time - he was making me do a lot of running. In that game I managed to get a little bit more depth, get the ball through the court a bit and he made a few mistakes. He hasn't played that well the last few months but he's obviously very tough. Murray explained.
About the incident with the ball boy, he added, It's the first time something like that has ever happened to me but I apologized. It wasn't intentional and I'll move on from it. I probably shouldn't have done it but it wasn't anything major. I wasn't hitting the ball like 100mph, I was just hitting the ball to try and show what I should have done.
Elsewhere, reigning champion Novak Djokovic lost out to local lad Michael Llodra 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 as the Frenchman secured what he described as a magic win in front of his hometown crowd. He will face Nikolay Davydenko in the last-eight who beat Tomas Berdych 4-6, 7-6, (7-5) 6-0.
Top seed Roger Federer was in fine form as he swept past Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-3 in the penultimate match of the day, while Jurgen Melzer saw off David Ferrer 6-4, 6-3.
Andy Roddick sealed the last place at the ATP World Tour Finals, which will take place in London later in November, with a 6-3, 7-6, (8-6) win over Latvian Ernests Gulbis.
The quarter-final matches take place on November 12, and they are as follows:
- Federer VS Melzer
- Murray VS Monfils
- Roddick VS Soderling
- Davydenko VS Llodra