Seventh seed Andy Murray, after a five-set marathon third round encounter, is set to lock horns with Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the fourth round of the French Open at the Court Suzanne Lenglen on Monday.
Spending four hours on the court must have taken a toll on Murray, who played his first five-set match since making his return from a back injury. The Brit was seen cramping after the match, and it will be interesting to see if he still has something left in the tank to combat Verdasco.
"I was cramping. That was what it was. It wasn't something I went into the match with," Murray explained. "It was the first five-set match I played since my surgery (last year). Obviously playing late, heavy conditions is tough on the legs in the evening."
Verdasco, on the other hand, registered a comfortable straight-set victory over Richard Gasquet, and got a longer rest than Murray, heading into the pre-quarterfinals. Murray has a better head-to-head record against Verdasco and has lost just once in 10 meetings. However, this will be the first time that these two are facing each other on clay.
The 24th seed, who last reached the quarterfinals of a major event at the 2013 Wimbledon, is bidding to reach the last eight at the Roland Garros for the first time. Verdasco said it is not going to be an easy match against the 2012 US Open winner, and he needs to be at the top of his game.
"Playing Murray is never easy," Verdasco said. "He has wonderful tennis, and he won Grand Slams already, so I think he deserves all my respect. This is going to be a very tough match again. I will try and give my all. I have nothing to lose. He is a favourite because of his ranking. So I will try and play my best tennis."
In their last quarterfinal clash at Wimbledon, Verdasco surrendered a two-set advantage to lose the match in five sets but Murray said the Spaniard has the edge because of his better record on clay.
"Not many people think I play particularly well on clay, so I would say that would give him an edge there," Murray pointed out. "He's obviously had some good results on clay. But he plays well on every surface indoors he's had good results on grass."
Where to Watch Live
The match between Andy Murray and Fernando Verdasco is scheduled for 7:30 pm IST, 2:00 pm GMT and 10:00 am ET start, with live coverage on NBC Sports and ESPN 2 in the US and NEO Prime and NEO Sports in India. International viewers, including India, can catch the action via live streaming HERE or HERE. Listen to the action HERE. Viewers in the US can live stream the matches HERE or HERE, while the tie can be live streamed by the UK viewers HERE.