French Open Round-up: Andy Murray scrapes through; Stan Wawrinka wins
- Unlike the men, the top women notched comfortable wins on Day 4 of the 2016 French Open.
When the men’s singles draw of the 2016 French Open was released, nobody envisaged Andy Murray dropping four sets in the initial couple of rounds. But that is exactly what the second seed did to reach the third round.
For the second consecutive match, the Scot had to take the long, arduous road to register a win in five gruelling sets. But this time his opponent, unlike the former top-10 ranked Radek Stepanek in the first round, was an unheralded one. 22-year-old French wildcard Mathias Bourgue, ranked just 164th, trailed the two-time Grand Slam champion by a set and a break but mustered enough courage to take the World No. 2 to the distance before bowing out, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 3-6.
This was Murray’s third straight day of play at the Roland Garros this year. His first round match against Stepanek was suspended on Monday because of bad light and resumed on Tuesday where he carved out the marathon victory.
Wawrinka, Nishikori, Raonic through
One of Murray’s biggest hurdles in his section of the draw – the defending champion Stan Wawrinka – too had found himself in a fifth set in his first round versus the dangerous Czech Lukas Rosol. But after that laborious winning effort, his second round match was a much shorter affair.
Still, it was not a very straight-forward win. Taro Daniel of Japan, ranked 89 places below the fourth-ranked Swiss, was a tough nut to crack in the first set and he even held two set points. But experience prevailed when it mattered the most as the third seed won the encounter, 7-6 (7), 6-3, 6-4.
Three of Wawrinka and Murray’s biggest rivals too managed straight-sets wins on Day 4. The Barcelona runner-up Kei Nishikori, seeded fifth, had yet another hassle-free day as he triumphed 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 over Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia.
Eighth seed Milos Raonic beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-1, 7-6(0), 6-1 while ninth seed Richard Gasquet thumped American Bjorn Fratangelo, 6-1, 7-6(3), 6-3.
Young Nick Kyrgios continues to impress as the 17th seed dispatched the Netherlands’ Igor Sijsling with relative ease, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1. So did another youngster – Alexander Zverev, who became the last player to complete his first round match on Wednesday.
The much-talked about 19-year-old German emerged a 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(6), 7-5 winner over France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Record for Karlovic
The older players too were not far behind. Ivo Karlovic, who is the tallest man to currently play professional tennis, added another distinction to his name. After his colossal 6-7 (2), 6-3, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 12-10 victory over Australia’s Jordan Thompson, the 37-year-old became the oldest player to reach the third round of a Slam since the former top-ranked Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open.
The Croatian, who thundered 41 aces, next faces Murray.
Radwanska, Halep, Muguruza, Kvitova progress
Unlike the men, the top women had a day devoid of any drama. All of the top contenders – second seed Agnieszka Radwanska, fourth seed Garbine Muguruza, sixth seed Simona Halep and 10th seed Petra Kvitova – moved into the third round comfortably.
Muguruza and Kvitova both were required to lift their performances several notches higher after enduring tough opening round matches. And they did not disappoint! While the Spaniard cruised to a 6-2, 6-0 win over French wildcard Myrtille Georges, the former semi-finalist Kvitova defeated the experienced Su-Wei Hsieh, 6-4, 6-1.
Radwanska faced a big threat in the form of local hope and Strasbourg champion Caroline Garcia but the Pole easily defused her challenge, 6-2, 6-4. The French girl did break the 2013 quarter-finalist when she served for the match at 5-3 but could not hold on to her own serve, conceding the match in the very next game.
Halep had a slightly more difficult task as she fell behind the 90th ranked Zarina Diyas 1-4 in the first set. The Romanian, however, succeeded in overcoming the slow start for a 7-6(5), 6-2 win over the Kazakh.
Also advancing were former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and 2010 runner-up Samantha Stosur.
11th seed and 2015 finalist Lucie Safarova, who has had a torrid start to the year because of her health, registered a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic.