Tennis

Andy Murray pays tribute to victims of terror attacks

World No. 1 emotionally affected by London and Manchester tragedies

Andy Murray racked up his 650th career win to reach the French Open quarter-finals yesterday before paying an unscripted, emotional tribute to the victims of the London and Manchester terror attacks.

World No. 1 Murray, the runner-up in Paris to Novak Djokovic last year, brushed aside Karen Khachanov of Russia 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

In his seventh Paris quarter-final, Murray will face Japanese eighth seed Kei Nishikori, who came from one set down to beat Spain's Fernando Verdasco 0-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-0.

However, instead of discussing the match in the traditional on-court TV interview, Murray took the microphone to remember the 29 people who died in the recent outrages in London and Manchester.

"Obviously, there was terrible tragedy in London and Manchester. Paris has had its problems, too, in recent years," said Murray.

"I am sure everyone will join me... we share our thoughts and prayers with 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 made short work of the unseeded Khachanov, maintaining the momentum established in beating Juan Martin del Potro in the previous round with an assured display on Court Philippe Chatrier.

The 30-year-old Scot made only one unforced error in winning the opening set and, although he did drop serve late in the second, he broke back immediately to take complete control of the match.

Murray broke in the ninth game of the third set, having just dropped his own with a rare baseline error, and wrapped up his win when Khachanov sprayed a forehand wide.

In the women's draw, Simona Halep established her credentials to become the newest French Open champion with a blistering 6-1, 6-1 victory over Carla Suarez Navarro yesterday to reach the quarter-finals.

With no former champions left in the field, pregnant Serena Williams watching from the sidelines and Maria Sharapova not invited to compete, third seed Halep has a golden opportunity to break into the Grand Slam winner's circle.

Judging by her performance yesterday, the Romanian may be ready for it.

"I was expecting a tough game against a very good claycourt player," Halep said.

"But I managed to push her back. I played a good game."

She will next meet fifth-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, who dug deep to produce her best tennis in adversity, beating Croatian qualifier Petra Martic 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 yesterday to book a quarter-final spot.

Martic, ranked 290th in the world after a 10-month injury layoff last year, was two points from victory at 5-2, 30-0 on her opponent's serve, but Svitolina unleashed a barrage of winners to claim 20 of the last 26 points.

"I decided to give everything I had and stay strong mentally. I hope I will recover from my injury," said the fifth seed, who received on-court treatment on her lower back at the beginning of the decider. - WIRE SERVICES


YESTERDAY'S RESULTS

Men's singles 4th rd

  • Andy Murray (x1) bt Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
  • Kei Nishikori (x8) bt Fernando Verdasco 0-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-0

Women's singles 4th rd

  • Simona Halep (x3) bt Carla Suarez Navarro (x21) 6-1, 6-1
  • Elina Svitolina (x5) bt Petra Martic 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
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