Andy Murray seeks third French Open semi-final

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Roland Garros
Murray v Ferrer will be 'fascinating'
French Open
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 24 May - 7 June
Coverage: Live text and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentaries on every Andy Murray match and other key matches.

Andy Murray will try to reach his third French Open semi-final on a day when Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal go head-to-head in Paris.

Third seed Murray plays Spanish seventh seed David Ferrer on Court Suzanne Lenglen at around 15:00 BST.

Murray is on a 14-match winning streak on clay but said Ferrer would provide "a big test".

Nine-time champion Nadal will face top seed Djokovic at a similar time on Court Philippe Chatrier.

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller
"David Ferrer is always very happy to leave the limelight to others, and Andy Murray won't mind being on the Suzanne Lenglen court, where his previous two matches have been staged.
"To have won all 14 of his clay-court matches this year is an exceptional achievement, but Roland Garros is the gold standard, and defeat at this stage would be a big disappointment."

That contest has been highly anticipated since the draw was made, with Nadal at pains to point out: "Even if it's a special match, it's a quarter-final match.

"It will not be a final like other years."

Djokovic said: "It does feel different because it's the quarter-finals. I'm not used to playing him that early.

"But, you know, that's the reality and that's a challenge that both of us have to accept."

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal is unbeaten at the French Open since 2009

American top seed Serena Williams plays Italy's Sara Errani, and Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky takes on Belgian Alison van Uytvanck in the women's quarter-finals.

Those matches open play at 13:00 on the Chatrier and Lenglen courts, respectively.

Murray, 28, said he was "very, very proud" to have reached a 17th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final, but he faces a considerable task to reach his third semi-final at Roland Garros.

The Scot leads Ferrer 9-6 in previous matches and has won four of the last five, but the Spaniard has prevailed in all four meetings on clay, the last of which came in the French Open quarter-finals three years ago.

"I'm sure both of us will have changed and probably improved since that time," said Murray.

"I feel like I have a better understanding of how I need to play on this surface than I did back then."

Pat Cash, 1987 Wimbledon champion
"You know against David Ferrer you're going to be in for a long day, even if it's a straight-sets win. He gets to so many balls. The way to beat Ferrer is to manoeuvre him and overpower him.
"He doesn't win a lot of points from his serve or his backhand, although he's improved that. He runs a lot, hits a lot of forehands and tries to frustrate you. That is the difference with Murray now - he's happy on the clay and understands that it can be a grind, and if that's the case, so be it.
"Ferrer is not going to hit a lot of winners. Murray knows that if he gets to the Ferrer backhand then he can stay in the rally. It's nice to know that somewhere along the line you can hit the ball into that slightly weaker spot and get back into the point."

Ferrer, 33, is averaging 6.6 unforced errors per set so far, compared to Murray's 7.4, and the Briton knows he will have to earn every point.

"Someone who is more inexperienced may rush at certain moments or make bad decisions," said Murray. "That's not something that David does.

"I'm going to have to work extremely hard and be very patient and try to dictate the play as much as I can."

Ferrer, a finalist in 2013, expects to face a different Murray after the Scot recently won his first clay-court titles in Munich and Madrid, beating Nadal in the latter.

"It seems he's much more aggressive," said the Spaniard. "When he uses the different shots he has to play, he's one of the best players, in the top three I'd say.

"If, in addition to this, you were to count his talent, I think that he's more aware of what's happening.

"Not just on quick surfaces, but also on clay. He's much more serene and calm."

Williams is chasing a third French Open and 20th Grand Slam title, but has needed three sets to win her last three matches.

"Usually I'm winning in straight sets," said the 33-year-old.

"Now I'm just winning, and that's a good thing, too. There's always room for improvement."

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