Andy Murray and Richard Gasquet reverted to their old forms, and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic punched through to the quarterfinals as the men caught up from two previous days of rain on Wednesday at the French Open.
The question whether we were seeing a new Gasquet late in the Frenchman’s career was answered in the second set against Murray. Leading the No. 2-seeded Brit by a set and a mini-break in the tiebreaker, Gasquet promptly collapsed both physically and mentally to lose the second set and win only two games over the final two sets, succumbing 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-0, 6-2.
“It was very, very important to win the second set because it was a very physical match up to that point,” said Murray, who reverted to his grinding form after trouble in the first two rounds of the event.
On falling back on his dropshot perhaps too often during the match, Murray said, “It was working at the beginning…I was 5-3 up in both (sets), serving for it, and, yeah, obviously played too many.”
In the semis Murray will meet No. 3 seed and defending champ Stan Wawrinka, who took advantage of his draw and unseeded Spaniard Albert Ramos to post a 6-2, 6-1, 7-6(7) victory.
“[Stan] is obviously playing great tennis,” Murray said. “It is going to be extremely difficult, hopefully I can play my best tennis and reach my first final here.”
Wawrinka has won his last three meetings against Murray and is 2-0 against him on clay.
“The way he’s improved on clay is quite impressive,” Wawrinka said of Murray. “We’ve normally had some good battles in the past.”
Four fourth-round matches were completed, with one of the hottest players of this clay season, No. 13 seed Dominic Thiem, defeating unseeded Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal meeting with his friend David Goffin.
“Two years ago I was here with Ernests (Gulbis) and he played semifinals, and back then I couldn’t really imagine that I’d go this far myself one day, and it’s already here two years later and it feels really good,” the 22-year-old Thiem said of reaching his first Slam quarterfinals.
The No. 12-seeded Goffin on Wednesday beat Gulbis 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
“[Goffin and I] practice a lot together, also hang around a little bit outside the court,” Thiem said. “I think it’s going to be very nice match to watch.”
Djokovic finished a rain-delayed match from the previous day, beating No. 14 seed Roberto Bautista Agut 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5.
“I have the feeling I played three matches against him,” Djokovic told the crowd after beating Bautista Agut, getting in a roof jab at organizers. “Yesterday the match was interrupted three times and it wasn’t easy coming here at 9 a.m. and leaving at 7:30 or 8 p.m. So that’s the reason why we should have the roof here.”
The world No. 1 in the quarterfinals will meet a surprise opponent despite his seeding, No. 7 Tomas Berdych, who powered through former finalist and No. 11 seed David Ferrer 6-3, 7-5, 6-3. Berdych was beaten 6-0, 6-0 during the claycourt run-up to the French Open, and promptly fired his coach.
Quarterfinal play on court Thursday will be (1) Djokovic vs. (7) Berdych, and (12) Goffin vs. (13) Thiem.
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