By Niall Clarke
- Andy Murray defeats Benoit Paire 2-6, 7-5, 7-5
- Paire led by a double break in set two and served for the match In set three
- Murray will play Milos Raonic in the quarter finals
MONTE CARLO, MONACO- Andy Murray came from the brink of defeat to defeats Benoit Paire in a thrilling third round encounter at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters.
The Brit came from a set and a double break down to beat the Frenchman 2-6 7-5 7-5 in two hours and 33 minutes. Paire also served for the match in the final set.
This sets up a quarter final match against Milos Raonic who defeated Damir Dzumhur in three sets at the start of the day.
“Hopefully I can start to play a little bit better,” said Murray post match.
“Every win is important right now at the start of the clay season to get a feel for what is going well and what isn’t.”
The degree of difficulty was down to which Paire would turn up on the day, and unfortunately for Murray he seemed focused in the early goings. The Frenchman was in fine form as the Brit struggled to adapt to his opponent’s level.
Paire raced to win the first set 6-2, and continued that form into the second set where he earned a double break lead. It looked like Murray would follow Novak Djokovic out of the tournament, but the Brit knew to hang in there given Paire’s history. What proceeded was a meltdown from the Frenchman. Paire got nervy, perhaps it was due to the home crowd, or the thought of defeating the world number two, either way he collapsed. Murray was able to break back twice before going on to win the set 7-5.
In what was a poor affair in the third set with neither being able to find their game, Paire made a breakthrough at 4-4 to serve for the match. Yet again he got nervous, and Murray broke back for 5-5. The world number two then held for 6-5 before a throwaway game by Paire ended with a double fault.
Murray was fortunate to come through the match due to the nerves of his opponent, but he still fought hard to hang in there.
“He gave me an opportunity in the middle part of the second set when he started to make a few mistakes,” added Murray.
“It still wasn’t my best match, but I fought as hard as I could right to the end and managed to get the win based on that.”
The Brit will face Raonic on Friday in a rematch of their Australian Open semi final in January. There, Murray battled to a five set victory after injury hampered the Canadian late in the match.
The second seed leads the head to head 4-3 and has won their last three meetings, including a victory on the clay in Madrid last year.
Murray vs Raonic will take place on Friday.
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