Wilander praise for Murray

Andy Murray, pictured, will face Gael Monfils in the last eight (AP)

Andy Murray, pictured, will face Gael Monfils in the last eight (AP)

First published in National Sport News © by

"Tactical genius" Andy Murray will have made Ivan Lendl proud with his run at the French Open, according to seven-time grand slam champion Mats Wilander.

Murray is playing in Paris without a coach after Lendl's decision to part ways in March but has produced some of his best tennis at Roland Garros to reach the quarter-finals.

On Monday he followed up his epic two-day win over Philipp Kohlschreiber by defeating dangerous Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in straight sets.

In the last eight on Wednesday afternoon he will meet former junior rival Gael Monfils in what is sure to be a terrific atmosphere on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Murray has only made the semi-finals at the French Open once before, in 2011, losing to Rafael Nadal, who he would probably meet again should he beat Monfils.

Eurosport analyst Wilander said: "I was very impressed with Andy Murray (against Verdasco). He is a tactical genius - even on clay - when his mind is switched on.

"He played great against Kohlschreiber but from the first point onwards against Verdasco he was really dictating play.

"When he defends he is as good as anybody but he was really aggressive with his backhand. He was also hitting his forehand as well as I've seen him hit the forehand and Ivan Lendl will be very proud of what he's watching.

"If you allow Andy Murray to do what he did it's nearly impossible to beat him. He is great at making adjustments and if he is as confident as he is now, then he's a danger to all of them."

Murray and Monfils first played each other 16 years ago and came up through the junior ranks together.

In 2004, the year Murray won the US Open juniors, Monfils won titles at the other three slams, but his achievements in the senior game are nowhere near those of either the Scot or their contemporary Novak Djokovic.

Injuries have played a part but so has Monfils' attitude to hard work.

Although he insisted he would rather win than entertain, the impression he gives on court is usually the opposite.

Murray and Monfils have played each other five times, with the Scot winning three, but the Frenchman has won both their previous meetings in Paris, one at Roland Garros and one indoors at Bercy.

The last of their matches came in 2010, and Monfils said: "I t's been a long time.

"I think Andy changed. He won Wimbledon, so for sure mentally will be different for him. I think he's a good player and he's come back very strong now.

"After his injury he struggled a little bit, and now he's more solid. He proved that on clay he's a tough opponent, too."

Murray and Monfils have been given top billing, with Nadal's rematch of last year's final against David Ferrer bumped to Court Suzanne Lenglen.

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