Andy Murray overcame the spirited Benoit Paire to progress to the Wimbledon quarter-finals with a 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 6-4 victory on Centre Court on Monday.
Despite progressing in straight sets, Murray’s victory was far from straightforward, with Paire’s tendency to attempt the ambitious occasionally bearing fruit and testing the world number one.
Defending champion Murray – who became just the third man to reach the quarter-finals in 10 successive years at a grand slam event – will face Sam Querrey or Kevin Anderson in the last eight.
Having won his third-round clash in a dramatic fourth set against Fabio Fognini, Murray could have done with getting off to a smooth start.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon)July 10, 2017
However, Paire’s unpredictable style caused the Scot problems early on and two early drops of serve – either side of a break of his own – had Murray berating himself and shouting to his box.
Murray soon settled and got the match back on an equal footing with a break in the eighth game but he was forced into a tie-break after failing to convert two set points on the Paire serve.
If the set itself was tight, the tie-break was anything but – Paire opened with a double fault on his way to a 7-1 drubbing.
Paire’s woes continued into the second set when he was broken to love in the opening game, but he restored parity at 3-3 after getting that disappointment out of his system.
A stunning backhand and a wonderfully returned drop shot helped Murray to what promised to be the set-clinching break, and the top seed did – at the fifth time of asking – open up a 2-0 advantage in the next game.
To come away from two tight sets against the world number one empty-handed will have been tough for Paire to take, and the world number 46 was made to rue a double fault – one of 10 in the match compared to none from Murray – that took the ninth game to deuce, with Murray eventually making the break.
That left Murray serving for the match and he sealed victory thanks to a long Paire forehand, extending his winning run against French opponents to 26.
Murray  bt Paire 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 6-4
Murray – 25/8
Paire – 50/44
Murray – 4/0
Paire – 9/10
BREAK POINTS WON
Murray – 5/16
Paire – 3/11
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Murray – 71
Paire – 54
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Murray – 67/69
Paire – 65/44
Murray – 123
Paire – 100