Murray fells giant Karlovic as Kvitova joins seeds exodus
PARIS: Andy Murray cut down Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic to reach the French Open last-16 Friday as two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova became the fourth top 10 women’s seed to be knocked out.
Murray, a three-time semi-finalist, had needed two five-set matches and three days of play to get to the last 32.
But on Friday the 29-year-old needed just a shade under two hours to beat 6ft 11in (2.11m) Karlovic 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).
It was his seventh win in seven matches against the 37-year-old as Murray goes on to face either John Isner of the United States or Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia.
“Especially at the end it was very close. I got off to a quick start and against someone like Ivo that’s very important,” said Murray.
“I was glad to win that tiebreak at the end.”
Canada’s eighth seed Milos Raonic overcame a left hip injury to defeat Slovakian lucky loser Andrej Martin, the world number 133, and reach the last 16 for a second time.
Raonic won 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-3 but only after requiring a medical timeout at the start of the third set to treat a hip injury.
The Canadian, plagued by a similar injury after reaching the Australian Open semi-finals in January, then needed to take a pain-killer before racing away to victory.
“At one point it felt like I had trouble bringing my hip back around when I would sprint forward when my left leg was behind me. And then it sort of went the other way,” said Raonic.
“The trainer was able to assure me that from what he could tell there was nothing serious.”
Raonic, a quarter-finalist in 2014, next faces 55th-ranked Albert Ramos-Vinolas after the Spaniard stunned American 23rd seed Jack Sock 6-7 (2/7), 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
– Romanians in breakthrough –
Ramos-Vinolas, 28, had not won a match at Roland Garros since 2011 before this year.
Spanish fourth seed and last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Garbine Muguruza won the last nine games to knock out Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer 6-3, 6-0.
Muguruza, a quarter-finalist in the last two years, faces a Russian challenge in the last-16 where either dangerous 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova or Anastasia Pavlychenkova will be her opponent.
Romanian sixth seed Simona Halep, the runner-up to Maria Sharapova in 2014, needed three sets to see off 18-year-old Japanese player Naomi Osaka 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Halep, 24, next faces 2010 finalist Sam Stosur who defeated 2015 runner-up Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-7 (0/7), 7-5.
It was only Stosur’s fourth win 15 meetings with Safarova who has been troubled for most of this season with a debilitating bacterial infection.
“Lucie and I always seem to play matches like this,” said Stosur who fired 14 aces in her two-hour 22-minute win.
“Today I served well, went after it on first serve so I didn’t give her too much chance to get a look in.”
Czech 10th seed Kvitova became the fourth top 10 seed to exit by the third round after she lost 6-0, 6-7 (3/7), 6-0 to American world number 108 Shelby Rogers.
Kvitova, a semi-finalist in 2012, committed 36 unforced errors as 23-year-old Rogers reached the last 16 of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Rogers next plays Romanian 25th seed Irina-Camelia Begu.
With Halep also through, it’s the first time since 1997 that two Romanian women have made the last-16.
Later Friday, defending champion and third seed Stan Wawrinka takes on Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the last match of the day scheduled for the Philippe Chatrier Centre Court.
The curtain-raiser for that will be what should be a huge crowd-pleaser opposing another Frenchman, Richard Gasquet, and colourful Australian Nick Kyrgios.
Kyrgios saved nine match points against Gasquet at the Wimbledon in a 2014 second-round clash, before the Frenchman avenged that loss a year later.
The Australian faced accusations of ‘tanking’ a game in the latter of those Wimbledon clashes.
Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori will also be in action, taking on veteran Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.
Women’s second seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland takes on 30th seed Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic.