Andy Murray had to struggle to escape upset danger, managing a 6-7 (3-7), 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) defeat of Slovak Martin Klizan on Thursday to survive into the third round of the French Open.
Murray laboured for more than three and a half hours against a 50th-ranked opponent keen to inflict an upset on the top seed.
The 30-year-old winner will immediately face another demanding test when he plays fellow former grand slam winner Juan Martin del Potro, who advanced when tearful opponent Nicolas Almagro was unable to go on with a knee injury, trailing 6-3, 3-6, 1-1.
Del Potro, who has a history of wrist surgeries and recuperations, sat down post-match on the Spaniard’s courtside bench to comfort him.
The Murray match will be a re-run of the Olynpic gold medal clash from last August won by Del Potro.
The tetchy and tense Murray will need to lift his level after a poor clay run-up to the major if he is to fulfil his seeding.
“Physically I felt good. So that was very positive thing for me with a lot of the issues I have had this year to come through a match like that in that heat and feel good,” Murray said.
The Scot improved to 36-9 at Roland Garros. Among the things he railed at during his match was the Spidercam flying camera which particularly annoys him.
“I don’t like it when it’s in (view during) my ball toss. It happened three or four times in the first round where it was there. I asked for it to be moved. They moved it. Then it comes back,” Murray said.
“I just don’t like it, it puts me off.”
Stan Wawrinka, the 2015 champion, dispatched a Ukrainian challenge from Alexandr Dolgopolov, earning a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 victory.
The 32-year-old won his 34th match at Roland Garros and stands 22-8 on the season. He came to Paris after claiming the Geneva clay title.
“I knew what to expect against him. I need to be focused on myself. I think in general the level was really high, so I’m happy with everything,” Wawrinka said.
“I’m number three, I’ve won three grand slams [in the] last three years. I know what my level is, I know what I can do. I’m focusing on what I have to do to stay as long as possible here.”
Croatian seventh seed Marin Cilic defeated young Russian Konstantin Kravchuk 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
“I’m very satisfied with the way I’m playing. My last two matches were really good quality tennis,” Cilic said,
Japanese eighth seed Kei Nishikori needed a visit from the trainer and a third-set chest massage on his way to eliminating Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-0, 7-6 (7-5).
Asia’s top player next faces Korea’s Chung Hyeon, a winner over Denis Istomin 6-1, 7-5, 6-1.
Nishikori, a 2015 quarter-finalist at Roland Garros, won a dozen games on the trot to move from 3-3 in the opening set to a 3-0 lead in the third, the moment he called for the trainer.
Russian Karen Khachanov upset Czech 13th seed Tomas Berdych 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.
Kevin Anderson took advantage of an underdone Nick Kyrgios, eliminating the Australian 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.
Kyrgios put his anger and frustration on full display, smashing a pair of racquets and earning a penalty point near the end of the second set.
Feliciano Lopez won a Spanish showdown over David Ferrer 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 while John Isner of the United States upset the clay formbook by beating Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-2).
Women’s ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, playing only her third clay match of an injury-hit season, overcame Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck 6-7 (3-7), 6-2, 6-3
“I have been struggling with my health for a couple of weeks. I only had a week practice, so I am just very happy to be in the third round,” Radwanska said.
“The first set was very tight and she made the great shots in the important moments. It was a really good, solid match and I am just happy that I was able to play stronger as the match went on.”
Fifth seed Elina Svitolina recovered from a set down to beat Tsvetana Pironkova 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.(dpa/NAN)