Former champion Carlos Moya set up a potential French Open quarter-final clash with fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal by defeating Jonas Björkman 7-6 (7/3), 6-2, 6-4 at the Stade de Roland Garros in the French capital.
Moya, who won his only Grand Slam title in Paris in 1999, was put under pressure early on by the unseeded Björkman, who at 35 years old was the oldest player in the men’s draw this year.
The Swede broke Moya’s serve in the second game mixing his looping baseline shots with the occasional venture to the net and he got to 5-2.
Moya though started to open up with his trademark big forehand and he won four games in a row with two breaks of serve to move 6-5 up.
Björkman forced the tie-break and was 5-3 up before Moya gathered his forces again winning four points in a row, the last with a lucky netcord, to take the set.
Two more breaks of serve in the sixth and eighth games gave Moya the second set comfortably and Björkman needed treatment for a shoulder injury at the next break.
Last year’s Wimbledon semi-finalist, who is better-known for his doubles play, was not done however and he forced Moya to save six break points in a marathon third game of the third set.
But as often happens, having failed to capitalise on his chances, Björkman struggled on his own following serve allowing Moya to break for a 3-1 lead.
It looked like Moya was home and dry at that point but Björkman refused to capitulate and a break of serve in the next game allowed him to level at 3-3.
Games went with serve after that until the 12th game when Moya forced the pace on return of serve and Björkman cracked hitting a weak backhand into the net on match point.