Richard Gasquet was playing French compatriot Gael Monfils on Court Philippe Chatrier and Kei Nishikori was taking on Hyeon Chung on Court 1.
An appreciative and enthusiastic crowd chanted "Delpo!" Juan Martin del Potro, one of his sport's all-round good guys, showed decorum and empathy by helping to lift the crestfallen Nicolas Almagro off the deck on Thursday afternoon after the Spanish player tumbled to the red dirt in tears, a knee injury prompting his early withdrawal from the French Open second round.
The world No. 1 faced the sound and fury and responded with his most dynamic tennis of this clay-court season.
Del Potro, whose career has been blighted by a recurring wrist injury, needed a good start against the world number one, but when he lost a tight first set tiebreak, the stage was set.
"I'm starting to feel better", Murray said.
"I couldn't believe that set, that I lost that set, because I had many opportunities to win", said Del Potro. It was very slow and heavy conditions and to be coming back was hard.
Karen Khachanov has admitted he has various sources of information on Andy Murray ahead of their last-16 French Open meeting.
Top-seeded Andy Murray became the 15th man with 650 tour-level match wins and has reached the quarterfinals in a fifth consecutive appearance at the French Open.
Murray is a three-time major champion and was the runner-up at Roland Garros a year ago.
Whenever and wherever these two meet, rallies can erupt like fireworks and today's 10th encounter-their first clay-court clash in eight years-did not disappoint.
Murray seized his lifeline, a 4th ace giving him a two-set lead. I'm working things out whilst I'm playing the matches.
Later, del Potro got anti-inflammatory pills from a doctor to help with a bothersome groin muscle, although he said his biggest issue was Murray.
Murray finally secured the crucial break of serve from 5-5 to take the second set in tense fashion as a tired Del Potro was restricted to launching power blows with mixed results.
Murray broke right away to begin the second and although the 2016 runner-up gave it back at 5-4, he eventually took the set 7-5.
Del Potro saved them both then earned one of his own with some wonderful relexes, but then double faulted. - Murray, joking after his victory over del Potro. With some exquisite returning and acutely angled groundstrokes, Murray raced through the final set and into the fourth round. This time, he converted.
He called for umpire Carlos Bernardes to check and stood for a good minute leaning on the net with head in hands after Bernardes admitted he could not see the mark and stuck with the line judge's call.
Del Potro was so disappointed he draped himself over the net for what seemed like ages.