Andy Murray defeated French teenager Luca Van Assche to reach the semi-finals of the Challenger event in Aix-en-Provence.
The Scot opted to drop down to the second tier after his first-round loss at the Madrid Open last week and the decision has paid off, with Murray’s 6-2 7-6 (6) victory over Van Assche his third in a row.
The 18-year-old is regarded as a big talent and is already ranked in the top 100 but Murray was solid from the baseline and, unlike in his second match against Laurent Lokoli on Thursday, he managed to avoid being taken to a deciding set.
The second set was not without its frustrations, with Murray missing a match point at 5-4 and then seeing an early lead in the tie-break slip away.
Van Assche had two set points but Murray, who needs one more victory to climb back into the top 50, saved both and yelled in delight when he made it over the line.
The 35-year-old is looking for his first title at any level since Antwerp in 2019 having lost his last four finals.
If he is to reach the decider in Aix, he will have to beat a Frenchman for the fourth match in a row, with 21-year-old Harold Mayot upsetting Alexander Bublik 6-3 6-1.