Vienna - Andy Murray defeated France's Gilles Simon for the
16th time on Thursday to reach the Vienna ATP quarter-finals and keep alive his
bid to snatch Novak Djokovic's world number one ranking.
The Olympic and Wimbledon champion eventually triumphed 4-6,
6-2, 6-2 after two hours and 40 minutes in a match which saw Murray commit an
uncharacteristic 58 unforced errors.
Simon was almost as sloppy, hitting just three fewer.
"It was a very long match, but I expected it to be very
hard because it's just that way against Gilles. You play a lot of long points.
You feel like the harder you hit the ball, the harder it comes back," said
"You just have to try to use some variety, some slice
and drop shots, and find that balance to get him out of his rhythm."
Murray, the 2014 champion in Vienna, goes on to face John
Isner on Friday for a place in the semi-finals.
If he wins the Vienna title and Paris crown next week,
Murray could unseat Djokovic as world number one as long as the Serb star loses
before the final in the French capital.
After dropping the first set on a frustratingly slow court,
a weary-looking Murray had to save six break points in the second game of the
second set to stay in contention and two more in the fourth.
But it was all one way traffic after those blips with the
world number two sweeping four games in succession to level the match.
Simon, who had won just two of his 17 matches against Murray
before Thursday, required a lengthy medical timeout before the final set to
treat a blister on his right foot.
Despite hanging on for 2-2, Murray repeated the punishment
he dished out in the second set to take the match.
Unseeded Serb Viktor Troicki earlier defeated third seeded
Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-2, 7-5 a result which qualified Gael Monfils into
the eight-man field at the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Defending champion David Ferrer, the Spanish fifth seed,
also made the quarter-finals by seeing off Portugal's Joao Sousa 6-2, 7-6
Results from the ATP Vienna Open on Thursday (x denotes seeding):
Andy Murray (GBR x1) bt Gilles Simon (FRA) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
Viktor Troicki (SRB) Dominic Thiem (AUT x3) 6-2, 7-5
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x6) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 7-6 (8/6) 6-2
Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) bt Jurgen Melzer (AUT) 3-6, 6-4, 6-0
David Ferrer (ESP x5) bt Joao Sousa (POR) 6-2, 7-6 (7/4)