• French Open, Day Seven

Majestic Murray back to his best in Paris

ESPN staff
June 2, 2012
Andy Murray had struggled with a back problem in the previous round © Getty Images

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Andy Murray silenced any doubts over his fitness by producing a clinical performance to dispose of Santiago Giraldo in the third round of the French Open.

Murray's participation in the tournament looked to be hanging by a thread when he was a set down to Jarkko Nieminen in the previous round and toiling with a back injury, but he recovered to win - and he seemed comfortable as he put on a professional display against Giraldo.

The Scot, who will meet Richard Gasquet in the fourth round before a likely quarter-final meeting with David Ferrer, beat his Colombian opponent 6-3 6-4 6-4 in two hours and one minute.

Having been called a "drama queen" by former Wimbledon champion Virginia Wade following that Nieminen encounter, it was noticeable that Murray conducted himself in a ruthless, business-like manner.

This was an impressive scalp for Murray against an opponent clearly at home on the clay, having taken care of talented Australian Bernard Tomic already at Roland Garros.

There were no signs of discomfort for Murray early in the first set, with his first serve looking a real weapon - even if judged by the standards of someone playing at the peak of his powers. Giraldo came out all guns blazing and showed enough power to gain Murray's respect, although his aggressive approach occasionally was a little too reckless.

And so it proved in the sixth game, with Murray showing his superior shot-selection by grabbing a break that decisively tipped the balance of the first set in his favour.

As if to illustrate the point that his back was in fine fettle, Murray won 22 consecutive points on serve in the second - including a game that he pocketed with four straight aces. That said, on the whole he was not making much impression on the Giraldo delivery - although whenever the door opened, he made sure he walked through. And he did just that in the fifth game, snatching a break that was perhaps tough on Giraldo who, apart from the odd blip, was holding without much trouble.

Giraldo seemingly used that frustration to add a little more dynamite to his play in the third, unsettling Murray on the forehand with some bullets towards the corners, many of which were fired with a deceptively short backswing.

But once again, in perhaps the perfect illustration of what separates the very good from the great, when Giraldo erred, Murray put his foot down to snatch another break; this one the most important of all as he booked a spot in the fourth round.

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