Murray to feed from Paris crowd in bid to drown out 'Mozart'
19:35 GMT, 3 June 2012
Andy Murray faces a huge away fixture on Monday against an French rival who was such a prodigious teenage talent, he used to be known as 'Mozart'.
The prize for the winner of the match against Richard Gasquet will be a place in the last eight of the French Open, and with a passionate Paris crowd looking on, there is every chance there will be drama – but only in the most positive sense.
Back in the groove: Andy Murray on song
What makes the prospect so enticing is not just the topsy-turvy nature of Murray's progress in the tournament thus far, but also the notion that, at 25, the supremely gifted Gasquet might finally be reaching maturity.
They have met three times in Grand Slams, and the Scot has won on every occasion, twice coming back from two sets down when his greater mental and physical strength has been the telling factor.
The balance between them may be shifting, however, and barely two weeks ago, at the Italian Open, Gasquet showed how he has improved in each of these departments by both out-fighting and outlasting Murray to win a gruelling third-round encounter.
On that occasion, the British number one's overall demeanour was poor, not helped by a separate back condition to the one that has bothered him here, and compounded by the absence of his main coach, Ivan Lendl.
Serving up a treat: Murray has played some enthralling games against Gasquet
After his comeback win over Jarkko Nieminen, with its accompanying controversies, Murray's approach was pitch-perfect on Saturday when he beat Colombian Santiago Giraldo in straight sets.
Lendl has been keeping a low profile here, and has remained notably inscrutable during matches, but it may be fair to speculate that he sent Murray out with instructions to keep his emotions in check and hide whatever he was feeling.
Whatever happened, it worked. He will need more of the same resilience against a player who seems to have added stamina to a beautiful set of ground-strokes that features one of the most poetic backhands in the game.
Blown Gasquet: Murray hopes the Frenchman will flounder
Moreover, it has been a big tournament for French heroics, so the masses at Roland Garros are primed.
'If you don't want to play in these sort of matches, with this sort of crowd, then there is not much point in playing tennis,' said Murray.
'You can often draw energy from a crowd that is against you.
'If I can get on top of him, I hope I can keep my foot down on him better than I did in Rome; I don't feel I played particularly well there.'.