No. 2 seed Andy Murray can’t get enough of five-set matches at this year’s French Open.
On Wednesday the Brit looked alternatively flat, angry, pensive, annoyed and frustrated at times, but fought through during a 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over unheralded Frenchman Mathias Bourgue, Murray’s second five-set match in two rounds at Roland Garros.
“You can’t play too many matches like this if you want to go far in this tournament,” said Murray, who may have already done himself in after more than seven hours on court in two matches. “I lost my way on the court today for quite a while. I was losing a lot of games at love. I couldn’t see where his shots were going. It was a big struggle. I did come up with some lucky shots today. I was a bit lucky also.”
The luck included Murray hitting fewer winners and making more unforced errors than Bourgue, the 22-year-old appearing in only his second Grand Slam match, and contesting his first five-setter.
Murray will next face an entirely different opponent in “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic, the No. 27 seed who Wednesday beat Aussie Jordan Thompson 6-7(2), 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-7(4), 12-10.
While Murray was putting in his hard yards, the remainder of the Top 10 seeds in play, No. 3 Stan Wawrinka, No. 5 Kei Nishikori, No. 8 Milos Raonic, and No. 9 Richard Gasquet, all punched the clock with straight-set wins.
Wawrinka beat Japan’s Taro Daniel 7-6(7), 6-3, 6-4, Nishikori topped Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, Raonic served off France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-1, 7-6(0), 6-1, and Gasquet dismissed former French juniors champ Bjorn Fratangelo of the U.S. 6-1, 7-6(3), 6-3.
Nishikori lines up a mouth-watering meeting with unseeded Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, who beat Ivan Dodig 6-2, 6-1, 6-3.
The defending champ Wawrinka will next face No. 30 seed Jeremy Chardy.
“I’m happy to get through in three sets,” Wawrinka said. “Chardy is a dangerous player. He’s playing really fast and heavy, big serve and always trying to use his forehand. He loves to play here, so I will have to play better.”
French seeds did not fare that well as on the upset tip Wednesday were Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili upending No. 19 Benoit Paire in four, and Slovak Andrej Martin surprising No. 29 Lucas Pouille in straights.
Other seeded winners were No. 15 John Isner, No. 16 Gilles Simon who edged Guido Pella from two sets down, No. 17 Nick Kyrgios, No. 22 Viktor Troicki, and No. 23 Jack Sock.
In the third round the seeds will start to meet as Gasquet will face Kyrgios.
“He’s the best newcomer coming now, so it will be an incredible match for me,” Gasquet said. “We know each other very well. We have played many times against each other. I know his game, he knows mine.”
Thursday’s highlights and matches of interest at Roland Garros include (4) Rafael Nadal vs. Facundo Bagnis, (6) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Marcos Baghdatis, (1) Novak Djokovic vs. Steve Darcis, (11) David Ferrer v. Juan Monaco in a grinder, (13) Dominic Thiem vs. Guillermo “G-Lo” Garcia-Lopez, and (20) Bernard “The Tank Engine” Tomic vs. Borna “To Run” Coric.
THURSDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
Philippe-Chatrier Court 11:00 AM Start
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) vs. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI)
Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Facundo Bagnis (ARG)
Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
Timea Babos (HUN) vs. Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)
Suzanne-Lenglen Court 11:00 AM Start
Malek Jaziri (TUN) vs. Tomas Berdych (CZE)
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Steve Darcis (BEL)
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Teliana Pereira (BRA)
Venus Williams (USA) vs. Louisa Chirico (USA)
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