MONTE CARLO, Monaco - Andy Murray’s apparent jinx on opponents has continued at the Monte Carlo Masters, with the third seed advancing to the quarter-finals as Frenchman Julien Benneteau went down with an ankle injury.
Murray got a rare two walkovers last month in Miami, when Canadian Milos Raonic was injured before their third-round encounter and Rafael Nadal was unable to play their semi-final five days later due to the knee problems which continue to haunt him.
Murray was leading 6-5 in the first set against the world No.31 on Thursday when Benneteau took a tumble, rolling his right ankle.
“It looked like quite a bad one, also his wrist, he fell quite heavily onto,” said Murray, “Hopefully it’s not too bad.
Grimacing in pain, Benneteau was patched up and tried to play on but gave up to end the abbreviated contest after 11 games.
“It was a tough match, a lot of long games, quite a few long rallies,” said Murray. “It was very cool conditions today in comparison to the other day, so the court was playing a bit slower.
“He was going for his shots and making it tough.”
Benneteau had reached his best career showing at Monte Carlo after falling in the first or second round in all eight previous main draw appearances. In the second round, he had beaten Austrian 15th seed Jurgen Melzer, a 2011 semi-finalist.
Murray was tested in the early stages, earning a break but losing it as Benneteau squared at two games apiece after Murray had saved four break points.
Murray will Friday play Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych, who needed a fightback to overcome Japanese number 12 Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
‘He plays a different style of tennis on the clay,” said Murray, “A lot of the guys work the points quite a lot, play with more topspin and stuff. He has so much power, he’s able to go through the court, hit pretty flat.”