French Open: Andy Murray reaches Paris quarter-finals
- Roland Garros, Paris
- 22 May-5 June
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Andy Murray completed an extraordinary comeback to defeat Viktor Troicki in their fifth set shoot-out and reach the quarter-finals of the French Open.
Having battled back from two sets down to level before bad light stopped play on Monday evening, the world number four recovered from 2-5 down in the decider to win 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-2 7-5 on Tuesday afternoon.
The British number one, through to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros for the second time, will now face unseeded Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela on Wednesday.
There was no obvious sign of the ankle injury that had appeared to contribute to Murray's slow start on Court Suzanne Lenglen the previous day, but any thought that all the drama had been left behind in the first four sets proved well wide of the mark.
Murray had his opportunities to take control of the final set, with break points in Troicki's opening two service games, but the Serbian played the pressure points well in the early stages and saw off the danger.
A mix-up at the start of game six might have upset the 15th seed as a ball boy ran on to court just as he put away a smash to go 0-15 up on Murray's serve, and it seemed ridiculous that the point had to be replayed - all the more so when Murray then took it - but it was the Briton who lost focus.
Murray mistimed a forehand that sailed long and the more aggressive Troicki duly converted his first break point of the day, before saving one on his own serve with a clever drop shot to move 5-2 clear.
That Murray could then reel off five games in a row owed much to his fighting spirit and class, but an equal amount to Troicki's failure of nerve.
After a Murray love service game, the Serbian had victory in sight serving at 5-3, 30-30, only to come up with a desperately tight backhand and a drop shot into the net, and within moments Murray was level at 5-5.
Troicki had lost all four previous five-set matches he had played against top-10 players and that record loomed large now, with Murray finding a great length from the baseline and forcing the errors to go 0-40 up in game 11, and the Serbian netted a backhand on the third break point.
Hopes of a swift victory were long gone as the time for the set passed one hour, and Murray gave his supporters one final scare by letting a 40-0 lead slip when serving for the match, but a magnificent cross-court backhand pass on his fourth match point sealed victory.
The Briton must now return to court within 24 hours as he looks to beat Chela and reach a first French Open semi-final against Rafael Nadal or Robin Soderling.
"I was really nervous and it was very windy on the court," said Murray afterwards. "After the points I was getting so tired in the legs, so out of breath. I wasn't even hitting the ball hard and was hardly doing any running; both of us were just hitting the ball up and down the middle at the beginning of the set.
"I think it was just nerves, and the conditions didn't help, but once I went behind again I loosened up, started going for my shots and got through it - but emotionally it was pretty challenging."
Asked how much the ankle injury, sustained in the previous round against Michael Berrer, had affected his game against Troicki, Murray said: "It definitely affected it. I don't think many people recover from a sprained ankle and a tear in the tendon in two days."
He added: "I obviously started the match poorly and struggled to move off to my right. As the match went on I started to feel a little better and deal with the pain and the feeling of weakness in the ankle."
Troicki, who had been trying to reach a first Grand Slam quarter-final, said it was "definitely one of the toughest losses of my career".