Murray through to Roland Garros third round but Bourgue wins ovation
Andy Murray advanced to the third round after his second five-set match of this year's Roland Garros tournament. His introduction to the 2016 French Open was hairy. The veteran Czech Radek Stepanek took a two-set lead against him on Monday night before Murray completed his comeback on Tuesday afternoon, poor light having stopped proceedings with Murray leading 4-2 in the fourth set.
On Wednesday the 29-year-old appeared to be cruising on Centre Court against the Frenchman Mathias Bourgue. He won the first set 6-2 and was 2-0 up in the second before suffering a meltdown. Murray lost eight consecutive games to cede the second set and a break in the third. Though Murray eventually stopped the rot, Bourgue held his nerve to claim the third 6-4.
“At first I was afraid of going onto the Centre Court for the first time in my career in front of so many people,” said Bourgue. “But once we started, I realised that Andy was playing slowly and I just tried to play like him, to accept the rallies and sometimes play a big shot.”
The tactic worked a treat. Murray admitted he lost his way on the court.
“It doesn’t happen that often where you’re struggling to win points,” said the 2015 semi-finalist. “But I managed to win the match. That’s what I’m here to do. I don’t want to play five set matches in every round and have big drop-offs in matches. It wasn’t like I was not there mentally. But I just couldn’t find the court. I was missing the ball so often.”
Having made a mockery of the world rankings for a substantial part of their three and a half-hour battle; Bourgue, the world number 164, was given a standing ovation as he left.
“It was incredible,” added the 22-year-old. “I was very emotional. I’ll never forget this moment.”
It might have been so different had Bourgue capitalised on three break points at the start of the fourth set.
Wawrinka, Nishikori romp to victory
There were no such scares for the third seed Stan Wawrinka.
The Swiss started the defence of his title on Monday with a nervy five-set win over Lukas Rosol. It was a straight-sets romp on Wednesday on Court Suzanne Lenglen against Taro Daniel from Japan.
Daniel’s compatriot Kei Nishikori also breezed into the third round.
He disposed of the Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 63 63 63.
The home crowds did have some cheer with the victories of ninth seed Richard Gasquet and 30th seed Jeremy Chardy. Gilles Simon progressed to the third round the hard way. The 16th seed came from two sets down to beat Guido Pella from Argentina. It lasted four hours and 32 minutes.
Radwanska sees off Garcia
The women’s second seed Agnieszka Radwanska took a fraction of that time to see off Caroline Garcia from France. Garcia broke Radwanska when she served for the match at 5-3 in the second set. However the 22-year-old failed to capitalise on her reprieve and relinquished her own subsequent service.
Comaptriot Myrtille Georges joined Garcia at the exit door. She was swept away 62-60 by the fourth seed Garbine Muguruza. There were also straight sets victories for the 2014 finalist Simona Halep and Lucie Safarova - Serena Williams’s victim in last years final.
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