Murray breaks new clay ground with quarter-final place (Lead)

May 31st, 2009 - 11:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Serena Williams Paris, May 31 (DPA) Andy Murray broke fresh ground in his fast-track clay court progress, reaching his first quarter-final at the French Open with a 7-5, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 defeat of error-prone Croatian Marin Cilic Sunday.
The third-seeded Scot will next take on a huge hitter in Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez after the 12th seed crushed Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-2, 6-4, 6-2

“This year I’ve been playing in a really good level,” said Gonzalez, a three-time Paris quarter-finalist. “I’m enjoying every time I go on to the court and every time I go into practise. I think that’s really important for me.”

Murray took full advantage of 40 unforced errors by Cilic while committing only 14 himself.

Cilic fell heavily on his hip in the third set and Murray began to pull away 4-0 on his way to the win.

Women’s top seed Dinara Safina continued her destructive march through the draw, cutting down the penultimate home women’s hope Aravane Rezai 6-1, 6-0 to reach the last eight.

The defeat leaves only Virginie Razzano to defend French pride at this edition.

In four matches, Russian world number one Safina has lost a mere five games as she works to solidify her top ranking form chasing Serena Williams.

“Overall, I’m trying to dominate, because there is no other chance for me. I’m not a roadrunner player, otherwise it’s going to be long match.

“Since I became number one, I think I’m playing better and better,” said the winner. “It feels good getting into the quarter-finals like this.

Safina fired 16 winners and broke five times against Rezai, ranked 57th, in their first career meeting. That fell just short of the Paris record four games achieved by Mary Pierce into the 1994 quarters.

“I’m trying to really focus on what I have to do exactly, you know. I’m trying to be very professional. I take one point at a time, I don’t waste my energy.”

The top seed could face a replay of the 2008 final if Serb Ana Ivanovic wins her later match against Miami champion Victoria Azarenka, the eighth seed from Belarus.

Safina went through in just 53 minutes, her only danger coming from a pair of Rezai break points early in the contest.

Slovak Dominika Cibulkova reached the first Grand Slam quarter-final of her career, following up on an Australian Open fourth round as she defeated Agnes Szavay of Hungary 6-2, 6-4.

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