Murray too good for Del Potro

Murray too good for Del Potro

Andy Murray downed longtime rival Juan Martin del Potro to reach the Roland Garros last 16 round on Saturday while French hopes were overshadowed by a bitter feud between two of their top stars.

World number one Murray triumphed 7-6 (10/8), 7-5, 6-0 for his seventh win in 10 meetings with Del Potro whose challenge fizzled out after squandering four set points in the 87-minute opener.

Murray, the runner-up to Novak Djokovic in 2016, will next face either John Isner of the United States or Russia's Karen Khachanov.

"I expected a very tough match. Whoever won that first set would have the momemtum as it would have been very difficult to come back in these heavy, slow conditions," said Murray.

Third seed Stan Wawrinka, the 2015 hampion, strode into the last 16 with a straight-sets win over Italy's Fabio Fognini.

The Swiss saved four set points as Fognini twice served for the opening set, with the volatile 28th seed then capitulating and Wawrinka powering to a 7-6 (7/2), 6-0, 6-2 victory.

Wawrinka will meet the lone remaining Frenchman for a place in the quarterfinal, facing either 15th seed Gael Monfils or 24th-seeded Richard Gasquet.

However, rain caused early stoppage of play.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori was leading 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 0-3 when the skies opened up.

Earlier, in a titanic first set, Del Potro wasted four set points then saved two before Murray pounced for the opener when the Argentine star narrowly miscued.

The 28-year-old slumped over the net and stayed bent over during most of the changeover to catch his breath.

Del Potro was quickly a break down in the second set. He retrieved it when Murray served for the set in the 10th game before handing the advantage straight back.

Murray seized his lifeline, a fourth ace giving him a two-set lead.

Weary Del Potro, who had already summoned the doctor early in the second set, knew his challenge was over and he managed just 11 points in the third set.

Former US Open champion Marin Cilic continued his smooth progress seeing off Feliciano Lopez, who was limited by a neck injury, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3.

Croatian seventh seed Cilic will next meet South Africa's Kevin Anderson who beat Britain's Kyle Edmund 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 in just under four hours.

In the women's event, France have three women in the last 16 for the first time in 23 years. However, that success is overshadowed by a bitter feud between compatriots Alize Cornet and Caroline Garcia who will clash for a place in the quarterfinals.

Cornet reached the pre-quarterfinals for just the second time with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Polish ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska. 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.

However, Cornet admitted that her relationship with Garcia has virtually broken down. "I think that the relationship is not very good," said 27-year-old Cornet.

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

Halep will face Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro for a place in the quarterfinals. Suarez Navarro eased past Russian 14th seed Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-4.

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