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Fast-improving Andy Murray into French Open quarter final

June 6, 2017

Andy Murray's improving form was on show again as the world number one cruised into the quarter-finals of the French Open with an emphatic 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Russian Karen Khachanov.
 
The world number one has had a difficult clay court season blighted by poor form, illness and injury, but this latest performance showed that he is continuing to improve and is nearing his best as he prepares to meet Kei Nishikori in the last eight.
 
Khachanov, the 21-year-old world number 53, had enjoyeda fine tournament but was outclassed by Murray, who followed up his superb straight sets win over Juan Martin del Potro in the third round by dismantling the youngster's power game. 
 
Not only was Murray's brilliant returning back to something like its best, but so too was his serve, with a 75 per cent win ratio on his second serve providing evidence that this key element of his game is working well after his recent elbow problems.   
 
It took just one break point for Murray to secure the first set and although an early break for Khachanov in the second was retrieved in the next game, that was one of the few blemishes in the Scot's performance. Khachanov was promptly broken again and Murray took the set. 
 
The final set followed a similar pattern as Murray broke early before his serve briefly wavered. Once again, however, he broke the Russian to seal his 650th ATP tour win. Murray is only the 15th man to achieve the feat.
 
Fans booking corporate hospitality for the Aegon Championships at the Queen's Club may be excited by the thought of Murray repeating last year's run to the final, not least as this was the prelude to a brilliant grass court season in which the Briton won both at Queen's and Wimbledon. 
 
Commenting on his form after the Khachanov match, Murray said: "I think today was probably the best I have played overall. It was difficult conditions. It was pretty windy out there. Wasn't easy.
 
"But each match, I feel like I played better. I have hit the ball cleaner and started to see the right shots at the right moments.
 
The biggest threat to Murray on all fronts this year may come from a revived Rafael Nadal, who will also be playing at the Aegon Championships. The Spaniard has been enjoying a superb clay court season, back to his best with Masters Series wins in Monte Carlo and Madrid and looking imperious in Paris as he chases a tenth Roland Garros title. 
 
Fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut was the latest lamb to the slaughter, with the 17th seed blown away 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in Nadal's latest coruscating display. In four matches so far, Nadal has not only won every set, but only twice has an opponent won as many as four games.
 
The Australian Open finalist will have tougher tests, with a potential semi-final against Novak Djokovic as well as a possible final against Murray. On current form, however, it is difficult to see who can stop him. 

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