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Andy Murray defends right to pull out of Italian Open


Job done: Andy Murray hails his win over Jeremy Chardy

Job done: Andy Murray hails his win over Jeremy Chardy


Job done: Andy Murray hails his win over Jeremy Chardy

Andy Murray maintains it was the right decision to withdraw from the Italian Open after his next French Open opponent Jeremy Chardy revealed he was irritated by the Scot's decision to pull out.

Murray beat Chardy in the second round at Rome two weeks ago but, after reaching consecutive finals in Munich and Madrid, the Scot decided to ditch the tournament to conserve energy for Roland Garros.

Chardy admitted he had been a "little bit p*****" by the Scot's withdrawal, adding "if you want to win a grand slam, everybody is tired".

The comments added spice to the pair's reunion yesterday but Murray is adamant his decision to withdraw was the correct one.

"At the time it certainly felt like it was," said Murray, speaking before Chardy expressed his disapproval. "I was extremely tired. I obviously wanted to try to compete as best I could that week but the more time I spent in the event, I realised I felt very tired.

"The evening that I played the match against Chardy, I woke up the next day feeling pretty tired.

"I had a bad practice before my match with (his next opponent) David Goffin and it was like, maybe I would have been able to get through a couple more matches but I would have to then take more time off and the French Open starts on Sunday.

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"It was a tough decision, but at the time it felt like the right one."

Murray held his nerve to beat Chardy and reach his fifth French Open quarter-final.

The Scot, seeded third, came back from a break down in the third set to win 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-2 in two hours and 51 minutes.

He goes on to face seventh seed David Ferrer, who beat ninth seed Marin Cilic 6-2 6-2 6-4.

After reaching his 17th consecutive grand slam quarter-final, Murray said: "In terms of the history of the game, there are not loads of players that have been that consistent at these events so that's something I look at, and I'm very, very proud of."

Rafael Nadal will face Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals after both men made it through the fourth round.

Nine-time champion Nadal saw off American Jack Sock 6-3 6-1 5-7 6-2 to claim a record 70th win at Roland Garros.

The Spaniard is trying to become the first player in the Open Era to win 10 titles at any Grand Slam event.

Top seed Djokovic beat Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-1 6-2 6-3.

Defending champion Maria Sharapova crashed out of the French Open after she lost to Lucie Safarova in the fourth round while top seed Serena Williams survived another scare to go through.

Sharapova has reached three consecutive finals at Roland Garros, and won twice, but the number two seed was well beaten by Safarova, who came through 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 to inflict the biggest shock of the tournament so far.

Williams was in danger of following her rival out of the competition but the world number one came from a set down for the third consecutive time in Paris to beat fellow American Sloane Stephens 1-6 7-5 6-3.

Sharapova's exit was particularly surprising given how she was outpowered by Safarova, with the Czech hitting 34 winners to the Russian's 20 and breaking serve three times.

"My opponent was at a much higher level more consistently than I was and that results in a bad day at the office," Sharapova said.

"I felt like I had small openings and played a good few points, I just wasn't able to keep that level up today.

"She was able to do that for a longer period of time. She was the much more aggressive player.

"She took the time away from me, created her angles and I didn't.

"That was the difference today, in my opinion."

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