By Ros Satar
Andy Murray extends his winning streak while Heather Watson falls in the second round at the French Open
Live coverage of the French Open is on ITV 4 and British Eurosport
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Andy Murray remained the one Brit standing, in the Singles at least, after being tested by Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the second round on Thursday. It started very well for Murray as he dictated the play in the first set, but suffered a dip as well as picking up a couple of time violations to give Sousa a route back into the match. The Portuguese player won his first set off the Brit in their six meetings overall, and also had break point opportunities in the third set, but Murray turned the momentum.
He played with far more purpose in the fourth set, breaking Sousa three times to claim a 6-2 4-6 6-4 6-1 victory, and earns a third round match up with Nick Krygios once more in a Slam, The Australian received a walkover into the third round following Kyle Edmund’s withdrawal due to an abdominal injury.
He explained, after the match: “I served badly in [the second] set, and I brought that pressure on myself. Then he started to play better tennis and, you know, made it difficult for me for that, kind of 30-, 40-minute period. It was very tough in the end of the second set through to the beginning/middle of the third. But when I started serving and returning better, obviously helped me get out of trouble.”
Unfortunately Heather Watson was unable to extend her 4-0 lead over a resurgent Sloane Stephens. The American was the quickest out of the blocks, racing out to a 3-0 lead before Watson fought back with a break of her own. Stephens was too strong for her, breaking back once more before rounding out the first set.
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Watson, who’s shoulder was strapped in a style resembling a maypole was broken in the opening game of the second set, but in the middle of the second set looked as though she was maybe getting more rhythm into the match, saving four break-points on her serve, before breaking Stephens to level the set at 4-4, but the relief was short lived as Stephens responded immediately with another break, before serving for the match, needing just the single match-point to book her space in the third round.
She said: “I’ve had this with my arm for a week and a bit now, but it wasn’t the reason I lost today. I felt fine. I had it all taped up and I took some painkillers before the match.
“I was just pretty sluggish and slow out there. Finally after like a set and a bit I finally got into it, but at that point it was kind of a little bit too late.”
Watson has never advanced past the second round at the French Open, and is signed up to play in the inaugural Aegon Open in Nottingham in two weeks’ time. Murray will be scheduled to play on Saturday, with the time to be determined.