PARIS – Andy Murray's back felt much better and it showed.
Unburdened by the soreness that plagued him in his second-round victory at the French Open, Murray returned Saturday and defeated Santiago Giraldo 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 to move to the round of 16.
"When you're playing in Slams, I just think each day you need to take it as it comes," Murray said. "And I felt much better than I did the other day."
Murray winced his way through his victory over Jarkko Nieminen on Thursday, and at the end, he conceded he was probably a few points away from stopping.
He needed visits from the trainer and took some harsh criticism from former Wimbledon champion Virginia Wade. The European TV commentator said she had more sympathy for Nieminen than for Murray on that day because, "you cannot play against someone who is being a drama queen."
Murray dismissed Wade's comments, saying he would never start "play-acting" to play up an injury. And after the stories had a day or two to percolate back home, Murray said it was still much ado about nothing.
"Often when I do give my honest opinion on things, it becomes a huge story. So I try my best," he said. "But when it's something I'm quite passionate about, then I'm going to give my honest opinion on something, and I didn't think it was fair."
Trying to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the sixth straight time, Murray will play Richard Gasquet in the fourth round — their first meeting at Roland Garros since Murray came back from two sets down to win. They also met last month in Rome, where Gasquet won a three-setter.
"When he plays well, he's a very very tough guy to beat," Murray said.