By Ros Satar, in Paris

  • Andy Murray [1] def. Juan Martin Del Potro 7-6(8) 7-5 6-0
  • Faces winner of rain delayed match between John Isner and Karen Khachanov
  • Kyle Edmund falls in third round to Kevin Anderson 6-7(6) 7-6(4) 5-7 6-1 6-4
PARIS, FRANCE – Andy Murray started to look more like No. 1 as he out-manoeuvred Juan Martin Del Potro, to make the fourth round at Roland Garros.

 

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Andy Murray [1] def. Juan Martin Del Potro 7-6(8) 7-5 6-0

It looked like a promising start by Andy Murray – consistent serving and drop-shotting the Tower of Tandil Juan Martin Del Potro twice in succession, mindful of the groin injury he sustained in his short-lived match against Nicolas Almagro. How quickly it turned when a loose game from Murray gave the Argentine the early advantage with a break before the first sit down. In fact to be fair Del Potro was the aggressor for most of that first set.

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. Forcing the tie-break, momentum switched from side to side, but the drama of the final point on Murray’s third set point saw the big guy leaning against the net in disbelief for most of the changeover.

Juan Martin Del Potro – 2017 Roland Garros (c) Christopher Johnson

There was no doubt that Del Potro needed that first set more than Murray and wit Murray beginning to connect more with the Argentine’s serve breaking him in the first game of the second set. But the Tower of Tandil was not quite done breaking Murray as served for the second set at 5-4. Murray regained his advantage straight away before taking the second set.

Murray started in the same vein, breaking Del Potro at the start of the third an this time ploughing on as he denied Del Potro a chance of a game at all in the third. Del Potro admitted in his press conference that the time spent bent over the net at the end of the first set was more borne out of the intense frustration of losing a set he had been dominating.

“Yeah, too much frustration. I couldn’t believe that set, that I lost that set, because I had many opportunities to win. I have been playing great, great points during whole, the first set.

“But this happens when you play against the No. 1 in the world or a great champion as Andy or Rafa or Roger or these guys. You never know when you can win a set or a match, and that’s happen today.”

Del Potro had called the trainer for some anti-inflammatory drugs for the groin issue he sustained but said he had been pain free, although acknowledged that Murray had been clever enough to get him on the move often.

He continued: “I move much better than the other day. And Andy make me run a lot today. Andy, he’s very smart on court, you know. That’s why he has all the shots to play but also a great mentally. That’s why he’s the No. 1 of the world at the moment, and I know how important is this tournament for him. I wish all the best and hopefully can be, can go far.”

It was the best performance from Murray certainly this clay court season, as he explained after his match:

“The first set was very important. I think it was like an hour 25 minutes. The conditions today were very slow and heavy, so coming from behind in those conditions can be difficult, because it feels like you have to work very hard for every point.

“Obviously his reaction at the end of the first set, you know, he was pretty disappointed. He had some opportunities obviously to close it out, and he served a double fault in the tiebreak on one of the set points. But it was an important first set for a number of reasons, but the conditions today were very heavy and tough, not easy to come back from.”

Murray will play the winner of John Isner and Karen Khachanov, suspended currently for rain.

 

Kevin Anderson def. Kyle Edmund 6-7(6) 7-6(4) 5-7 6-1 6-4

 

Having been the best of the Brits as far in terms of sets won, and none lost, it was a different prospect when Kyle Edmund met Kevin Anderson, whose return to the tour after injury has been rewarded with some solid results on the dirt. Edmund kept his resolve under some firm pressure from Anderson fighting off break points on his serve, but not getting a sniff of any from the South African.

The big-serving Brit manage to get the edge in the first set tie-break, but after a highly competitive second set, it was Anderson who took a run at the tie-break to level the match. Edmund had to once more slam the door on Anderson fending off another five break poimts on his serve while making no impression on Anderson, but a loose game handed the Brit the advantage to go up 2-1.

Edmund dipped as Anderson pressed ahead in the fourth set for a 3-0 lead, getting just one game on the board. In the decider, again he stopped Anderson from getting an advantage saving three break points at 2-2 but Anderson’s persistence prevailed, breaking late at the end of the set and serving out for his place in the fourth round.

There were still plenty of positives though for the Yorkshire-man to take away from his clay court season.

“I think the match, just very small margins, not much in it. And, you know, that’s the difference at this level is that you learn as you go up. That’s the reality is you’re not going to get masses of opportunities.

“They’re all very small opportunities, small margins, and a few points here and there. I think that was the reality of it today was there was a few points here and there.

“And I think he also played a good match. I played a good match and disappointed to lose. I would love to win and get to the fourth round of the French, and especially win that type of match in the fifth set like that. But, you know, quality by him. And he just beat
me.”

 

Featured Image Credit: Christopher Johnson

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