By Ros Satar
Andy Murray continues his unbeaten run on clay and against Australians with a straight sets win over Nick Kyrgios.
- Murray beats Kyrgios to advance to the fourth round 6-4 6-2 6-3 at the French Open
- Kyrgios battles on despite elbow issue
- Murray faces Jeremy Chardy next, who he defeated in Rome just ahead of the French Open
From early on, it was clear that Murray was going to look for weaknesses in Kyrgios’ game, pulling him up the court with drop shots. Even when Kyrgios got wise, he was opening up the court for a no-nonsense winner into wide open space. Kyrgios was unleashing when he could, but some extraordinarily wild shots and a shocker of a game gave Murray the first break before the first change of ends.
However Kyrgios was having none of that breaking back straight away, while Murray was getting agitated with the spider-cam. The Brit was in danger again, as Kyrgios brought up break points once more. The Aussie followed it up with some fabulous trick-shottery to out-lob Murray with a tweener, bringing the crowd right into it.
With Murray going up a break in the next game for the second time in the match after a wild error from Kyrgios, finally he started to inject a little more aggression into the points as he closed out the first set.
Kyrgios started to struggle a little with his arm, which had been occasionally producing some blistering forehands, but also some glaring errors. As the pace of his serving started to drop off, Murray took a little more advantage, while both kept up a running commentary on the state of the nation, including at times a steady flow of the invective.
Kyrgios had to admit it was gutting not to be able to take the battle to the World No. 3 on the big stage.
“Not to take anything from him, he played unbelievable. I don’t think he served well, but he made a lot of returns and he just does what he does best: that’s make a lot of balls and mix up the game. He was too good.
“I don’t know what the problem is [with the elbow], but you guys can see for yourselves on the stats I’m not serving anywhere near the pace I usually serve. Yeah, it’s heart-breaking, really.”
Murray, who dropped a set in his second round match to Joao Sousa, assessed his performance:
“At the beginning of the match he was serving big, over 200 kilometres an hour, and then started slowing down to 170, 180, and not really going for aces. That’s something that he normally serves a bunch of aces. He has a very quick motion, and very accurate serve.
“It was really after the first set or his last service game of the first set where he started to slow the serve down. The rest of the game he was still hitting huge shots, but on the overhead clearly he was struggling there, and that was obviously to my benefit.”
Murray will face Jeremy Chardy, who knocked out the 17th seed David Goffin. Murray defeated Chardy on clay in Rome, before pulling out of the tournament (ironically ahead of his next round against Goffin).
He said: “I obviously wanted to try to compete as best I could that week. But the more time I spent in the event, you know, I kind of realized I felt very tired the evening that I played the match against Chardy, woke up the next day feeling pretty tired.
“I had a bad practice before my match with Goffin. And, you know, it was like maybe I’m able to get through a couple more matches, but I’m going to have to then take more time off and the French Open starts on Sunday. It was a tough decision, but at the time it felt like the right one.”
Murray and Chardy are expected to play their fourth round match on Monday.