An­der­son into last 16 in Paris

Sunday Times - - SPORT -

SOUTH Africa’s Kevin An­der­son matched his best run at Roland Gar­ros by reach­ing the last 16 yes­ter­day with a five-set win over Bri­tain’s Kyle Ed­mund.

An­der­son, who made the French Open fourth round in 2013 and 2014, twice re­cov­ered from a set down to ad­vance 6-7 (6/8) 7-6 (7/4) 5-7 6-1 6-4 in just un­der four hours.

A for­mer top 10 player, the world num­ber 56 will meet Croa­t­ian sev­enth seed Marin Cilic for a spot in the quar­ter­fi­nals.

De­feat for Ed­mund, born in Jo­han­nes­burg like An­der­son, means Bri­tain have still never had more than one man in the last 16 at Roland Gar­ros in the Open era.

An­der­son missed this year’s Aus­tralian Open with a hip in­jury. His best grand slam per­for­mance was his run to the 2015 US Open quar­ter­fi­nals.

Mur­ray plays into form

TOP seed Andy Mur­ray eased into the last-16 of the French Open 7-6(8) 7-5 6-0 over a flag­ging Juan Martin Del Potro.

Mur­ray did enough to keep his nose in front through­out, while the gi­ant Ar­gen­tine was un­able to reprise the hero­ics that saw the pair pro­duce such magic in last year’s Rio Olympics gold medal match.

While Mur­ray won that af­fair too — and their only pre­vi­ous grand slam meet­ing — Del Potro had tri­umphed in their most re­cent clash, so the Scot was alert to the dan­gers.

Del Potro, whose ca­reer has been blighted by a re­cur­ring wrist in­jury, needed a good start against the world No 1, but when he lost a tight first set tiebreak, the stage was set.

Los­ing that opener on a dis­puted line call cut Del Potro deep.

Mur­ray jogged to his seat at the changeover, the Ar­gen­tine stood at the net, bent at the waist, his head rest­ing on the net­cord.

There he stayed un­til the um­pire called time. They traded blows in the sec­ond set, Mur­ray creep­ing ahead.

But a mon­u­men­tal ef­fort by Del Potro saw him break back for 5-5, only to in­stantly drop serve again as Mur­ray yanked him around the court with tight an­gles, drop shots and lobs.

This time the Scot would make no mis­take and crunched it out with his fourth ace of the match.

Del Potro’s spirit was bro­ken, and the vo­cal Paris crowd were quelled.

With some ex­quis­ite re­turn­ing and acutely an­gled ground­strokes, Mur­ray raced through the fi­nal set to set up a fourth-round clash with ei­ther Amer­i­can 21st seed John Is­ner or Rus­sian Karen Khachanov.

Si­mona on course

RO­MA­NIAN third seed and 2014 run­ner-up Si­mona Halep sealed her place in the French Open fourth round with a 6-0 7-5 win over Rus­sia’s Daria Kasatk­ina.

Halep, 25, is viewed as one of this year’s ti­tle favourites at Roland Gar­ros af­ter win­ning the Madrid Open and reach­ing the fi­nal in Rome last month.

She raced through the open­ing set against 26th seed Kasatk­ina but needed to save four set points in the sec­ond be­fore clinch­ing vic­tory.

Halep will face Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro for a place in the quar­ter­fi­nals.

Al­ize Cor­net and Caro­line Gar­cia, French compatriots but barely on speak­ing terms af­ter a bit­ter feud, will clash for a place in the quar­ter­fi­nals.

Cor­net reached the last 16 for just the sec­ond time with a 6-2 6-1 win over Pol­ish ninth seed Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska, who lost all her seven ser­vice games.

Gar­cia, seeded 28, made the fourth round of a slam for the first time with a 6-4 4-6 9-7 win over Tai­wan’s world num­ber 109 Hsieh Su-Wei.

Those wins guar­an­teed that the home na­tion will have at least one quar­ter­fi­nal­ist in Paris for the first time since Mar­ion Bar­toli made it in 2011.

How­ever, Cor­net ad­mit­ted that her re­la­tion­ship with Gar­cia has vir­tu­ally bro­ken down. — AFP

Pic­ture: REUTERS

TRUE GRIT: Kevin An­der­son twice came from a set down to beat Bri­tain’s Kyle Ed­mund and enter the round of 16

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