Andy Murray maintains momentum to move smoothly into last four

Serena Williams into semi-finals with straight-sets win over Sara Errani, 6-1, 6-3

 Andy Murray celebrates after beating Spain’s David Ferrer in the quarter-final of the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris. Photograph: Caroline Blumberg/Epa

Andy Murray celebrates after beating Spain’s David Ferrer in the quarter-final of the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris. Photograph: Caroline Blumberg/Epa

 
Andy MurrayDavid Ferrer

to book a place in the semi-finals of the French Open for the third time in his career.

He saved two set points in a topsy-turvy opener, which contained six breaks of serve, before pulling away in the second and having missed a match point in the third, rebounded superbly in the fourth to record a 15th straight victory and set up a clash with the world number one Novak Djokovic.

Having never beaten Ferrer in four previous outings on the surface, Murray (28) wore down the 33-year-old with some consistent hitting and a barrage of winners, 53 in all.

Moving beautifully, he maintained his unbeaten run on clay this year, a spell that has taken him to his first ever clay-court title in Munich and then a second in Madrid. He is the first British man ever to reach the last four here on three or more occasions, which says an awful lot about his ability on what is supposed to be his worst surface.

On Court Suzanne Lenglen, which was bathed in warm sunshine for the first three sets, Murray set about running off the legs of the ever-dogged Ferrer, a finalist here in 2013. Both men were aggressive on returns and Murray broke in the opening game, only to be broken straight back.

Having swapped breaks again, Murray earned a third break for 4-3 and served for the set at 5-4, only to falter. Ferrer then stepped up his game to lead 6-5 and had two set points only for Murray to hold firm, before moving up another gear in a tie-break which he took 7-4.

The second set hinged on the third game when Murray held from 0-40 with five brilliant points and that seemed to take the wind out of Ferrer, who was promptly broken in the next game. Always looking to be aggressive, Murray then broke again to take the set 6-2.

At 3-0 in the third, the match looked over but Ferrer hit back to level only for Murray to gather himself – and at 5-4, he had a match point, which Ferrer saved. When the Spaniard then broke to win the set 7-5, an epic seemed possible but Murray composed himself and promptly stormed through the fourth to advance to the last four.

Women’s quarter-finals

Williams, who won the Roland Garros title in 2002 and 2013, leads the Swiss 2-0.

The 33-year-old American has now won all eight matches she’s played against the 17th-seeded Errani, who won only one game in their 2013 French semi-final.

Williams, seeking her 20th major singles titles, had struggled all week, being pushed to three sets in the previous three rounds.

She regained her form yesterday, firing off 39 winners including 10 aces and breaking serve five times. Guardian Service

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