Murray in a hurry after straight-set victory

The former top-10 Spaniard had already taken out No9 seed Alexander Zverev, and will play the victor between Kei Nishikori and Hyeon Chung-also halted by rain. Play was suspended at 1705 local time (1505 GMT) and then cancelled for the day two hours later.

Murray held off an offensive assault from the 29th-seeded del Potro of Argentina 7-6 (8), 7-5, 6-0 at Court Philippe Chatrier in a tense clay-court match that lasted two hours and 53 minutes.

Nishikori leads Chung 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 0-3; Karen Khachanov of Russian Federation leads No. 21 John Isner of the United States 7-6 (1); and No. 15 Monfils leads No. 24 Gasquet 6-5.

After beating Tomas Berdych in round two, he bounced back well from losing the third set to Isner to win 7-6 (7/1) 6-3 6-7 (5/7) 7-6 (7/3) in a match carried over from Saturday evening.

"I expected a very tough match".

It was tough for Del Potro to accept having given so much to what the Eurosport pundit John McEnroe described as one of the best he has witnessed, but in that moment the match was nearly won and lost.

But a double fault from the Argentinian made it 7-7 and it was Murray who took his third set point when Del Potro's forehand landed just wide.

Murray had to save a set point on his own serve and another as he started to put pressure on Del Potro, finally converting on his sixth attempt in the set, saving a second set point in the process.

Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, was playing at his first French Open since 2012 because of a series of operations on his left wrist. Murray regained his advantage straight away before taking the second set.

The pair traded blows in the second set with Murray creeping ahead.

But taking the throbbing hits from Del Potro, and emerging victorious can not be underestimated.

"Andy is one of the smartest guys on the circuit". Murray beat Del Potro 7-6 (8) 7-5 6-0.

Elsewhere, fellow Brit, Kyle Edmund's run came to an end with a defeat by Kevin Anderson in five sets.

- Fernando Verdasco beat Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas 6-2 6-1 6-3.

The world No. 1 faced the sound and fury and responded with his most dynamic tennis of this clay-court season.

The last time three Frenchwomen got through to the last 16 of a major was at the 2008 U.S. Open. Cornet and Caroline Garcia, due to meet in the next round, are barely on speaking terms after a bitter feud.

Cornet reached the pre-quarterfinals for just the second time with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Polish ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

Those wins guaranteed the home nation will have at least one quarterfinalist in Paris for the first time since Marion Bartoli in 2011.

Cornet's only moment of trouble came from a hard bounce of the ball as it flew under her racket at 30-15 in the final game. "I think she may have a grudge against us, so she's not ready to talk with me". Garcia fell out with her teammates after severing her successful doubles relationship with Kiki Mladenovic, before pulling out of Fed Cup duty in April.

Meanwhile, 2014 runner-up Simona Halep eased through to the last 16 with a 6-0, 7-5 win against 20-year-old Russian Daria Kasatkina.

Halep, 25, will face Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro for a place in the quarter-finals.

"In the 5-4 game, I think he had set point and I had some game points, but then in the tiebreak, I had some chances but didn't get them".

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki resumed her match against 18-year-old American Catherine Bellis after rain stopped play yesterday night.

  • Julie Sanders