Murray too good for Del Potro

Solenn Plantier
Juin 5, 2017

Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro embrace after the men's singles third round match during day seven of the French Open.

epa06003551 Andy Murray of Britain in action against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during their men?s single 2nd round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 01 June 2017. But it still was extremely complicated, because he was starting to return the balls better. Halep won 6-4, 6-3.

Del Potro, playing in his first French Open since 2012 because of a series of operations on his left wrist, had four set points in the opening set but lost each one, including a double-fault while ahead 7-6 in the tiebreaker.

A frustrated Del Potro stood at the net for a while between the interval. He remained there for several seconds, delaying the court-sweepers' between-set duties. The umpire confirmed the diagnosis and Del Potro collapsed in despair.

This time Murray made no mistake and took the set with his fourth ace of the match.

Murray, last year's runner-up at Roland Garros and a three-time Grand Slam title victor, is into the fourth round for the eighth time in 10 appearances in Paris.

"I couldn't believe that I lost that set, because I had many opportunities to win", he said.

Neither, really, could Murray, who noticed how crestfallen his opponent was after that vital set. It lasted almost 11/2 hours, filled with extended rallies and terrific shotmaking. Now Murray gets one of the most underrated and underhyped players among the stable of rising 21-and-under stars the ATP has been heavily promoting under its #nextgen stars.

Andy Murray said he felt competing against a fierce component and winning put him in a better mindset for the rest of the competition. I had struggled the last six or seven weeks. "I played some good matches at the beginning of the year, but definitely in the clay-court season, the second or third sets were the best I have played, for sure", he said.

In the end, Murray advanced with a score of 7-6 (8), 7-5, 6-0.

Both players then had set points in an epic tie-break before Murray eventually edged it 10-8, and it proved decisive for the remainder of the match.

Anderson missed this year's Australian Open with a hip injury.

Djokovic is last on Court Philippe Chatrier, against No. 19 Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain, while the fifth-seeded Muguruza plays No. 13 Kristina Mladenovic of France on Court Suzanne Lenglen after Rafael Nadal plays Spanish compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut.

Ostapenko now faces former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, who is a two-time major finalist.

Murray had suffered physical concerns of his own earlier this year-an elbow injury and a bout of shingles-but del Potro also talked this week of a small groin injury, though his early finish against the injured Nicolas Almagro may have helped his cause. The following year, Halep reached the final.

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. The Frenchmen meet for the 14th time with Monfils 7-6 up.

"Andy has had a hard year with different types of illness and injury, and he has struggled to get momentum more than anything", he said.

Pouncing on a net cord rebound, Murray slapped a mid-court forehand crosscourt, but a lunging del Potro wristed back a forehand victor for a third set point at 7-6.

An appreciative and enthusiastic crowd chanted "Delpo!" Delpo!” — his nickname, etched in fluorescent yellow type on the back of black sneakers. Spectators repeatedly gasped in unison at some of the 29th-seeded del Potro's massive forehands, usually accompanied by a loud exhale. I think all the people like my story.

Murray was not, and he smiled mischievously as he described del Potro's "very manly grunt".

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