Andy Murray matched the performances of the two top Swiss players, Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, in reaching the last sixteen at the French Open today. His straight sets victory over the dangerous Nick Kyrgios was perhaps slightly easier than first expected, but demonstrated that his strong recent form on clay seems to be continuing. His fourth round opponent will be either David Goffin or home-crowd favourite Jeremy Chardy.
Many neutrals had perhaps expected Kyrgios to push the world number three more closely than he ultimately did, as the Aussie succumbed 6-4 6-2 6-3 after just under two hours of play. The 20-year-old Antipodean player has the weaponry to trouble the top players when at his best, with Wimbledon fans able to bear witness to that fact after his defeat of Rafa Nadal there last year. Clay may not be his favourite surface though one suspects, whereas Murray seems to be beginning to enjoy himself on the 'red stuff'. This was after all his thirteenth straight success on clay, a winning streak that can only be emulated by the likes of Novak Djokovic in the men's game at present.
Kyrgios was well rested
Kyrgios was seeded 29th entering the tournament at Roland Garros and would have been well rested for the challenge of Murray, after enjoying a walkover against another Brit, Kyle Edmund in round two. The Scot by contrast had survived a mini-scare in his second round match, losing the second set to Joao Sousa before regaining his dominance in sets three and four.
In what proved to be an entertaining contest for the fans to observe, Kyrgios showcased his full array of shots against Murray. Sadly for his supporters, as good as his attacking play was at times (he hit a staggering 37 winners), he threw far too many errors into the mix as well. Yet many will have purred over the outrageous lob that he played at one stage from between his legs. Murray though countered with several drop shots of his own to keep his opponent guessing and moving around.
The first two sets were quite comfortable for the Brit, but his rival did look capable of showing better resilience in set three with an early break of his own to lead 2-0. He couldn't maintain his advantage though and a determined Murray clinched his win.
Elbow problem for Aussie #TennisKyrgios lost his serve on no less than seven occasions during their encounter, a statistic that left him with little chance of going through. Kyrgios for his part would no doubt point to an elbow problem that was troubling him, with treatment being provided in the final set in an attempt to ease his distress. Without his biggest asset, the Aussie was no match for Murray.