Andy Murray became only the third British man in the Open era to reach the quarter-finals of Roland Garros on Sunday with a 7-5, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 win over Croatia’s Marin Cilic.
The third-seeded Briton will now tackle three-time quarter-finalist Fernando Gonzalez, the Chilean 12th seed, for a place in the semi-finals.
Ever-improving Murray, 22, has now won four successive matches on clay for the first time in his career and he looked impressive on Sunday with his physical fitness proving crucial in a tie of long, punishing rallies.
He broke Cilic, whom he had beaten twice in their two previous meetings, in the opening game and although the tall Croatian hit back immediately, Murray nipped ahead again in the 11th game on his way to taking the opener 7-5.
Breaks were traded again in the seventh and eighth games of the second before Murray’s greater experience told in the tiebreak.
Murray was soon a break to the good in the third set against the 20-year-old Cilic, the youngest player left in the men’s draw, whose miserable afternoon got worse when he needed treatment to his left leg at 0-3 after falling awkwardly.
The Scotsman, with a claycourt game honed by the help of former two-time French Open runner-up Alex Corretja, was soon 4-0 ahead over the wilting Croatian.
Cilic, who came into the fourth round having lost the fewest number of games of any player in the last 16, pulled one break back, surrendered it to trail 1-5 before Murray secured a convincing victory in the seventh game.