Andy Murray will attempt to break new ground today when he takes on David Ferrer in the quarter-finals of the French Open.
The world number four leads their head-to-head 5-4 but Ferrer, known as the little beast for his fighting qualities on court, has won all three of their previous meetings on clay.
The Spaniard’s consistency, speed and grit are at their most effective on the slowest surface, and Murray is well aware that talk of a semi-final rematch against Rafael Nadal is very premature.
He said: “I think he’s one of the toughest guys to play on any surface. He’s number six in the world, and he’s been there for a long time now. He’s had a good clay-court season so far.
“I’ve always found it tough against him on clay in matches and in practice. I train with him quite a lot, and I get on very well with him.
“We know each other’s games very well, and he’s one of the best players in the world on any surface, so it’s going to be a tough match.”
Although history is not in Murray’s favour, the pair have not played each other on clay for two years, and since that meeting in Madrid the Scot has won four of their five clashes on hard courts.
“Every match is different,” said Murray. “A lot of the clay courts play differently - quicker, slower. Conditions change things. We’ll just see (tomorrow) whether having lost to him a few times on the clay before is a factor or not.”
Ferrer has never been past the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.