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Battler Andy Murray sets up big showdown at French Open

By Tom Allnutt

Published 29/05/2015

Game face: Andy Murray on way to victory over Portugal’s Joao Sousa at the French Open in Paris
Game face: Andy Murray on way to victory over Portugal’s Joao Sousa at the French Open in Paris

Andy Murray admitted he had to work very hard for his 6-2 4-6 6-4 6-1 win over Portugal's Joao Sousa to book a clash with rising star Nick Kyrgios in the third round of the French Open.

Murray was made to feel uncomfortable on Court Philippe Chatrier by a combination of Sousa, who played brilliantly to claim the second set, and French umpire Pascal Maria, who handed the Scot two time violations for taking too long over his serve.

Frustration made Murray briefly vulnerable, but the British number one regained his composure to seal victory in two hours 30 minutes and advance to a meeting with Kyrgios.

"I wasn't annoyed with the time thing at all, I made no issue of it on the court," Murray said of the time violations..

"I think it's there for a reason. Sometimes I play too slow and that's unintentional. I don't mean to do it.

"But obviously as a player you have no idea how long you're taking in between the points and people can say, 'Oh, they do, they play tennis', but the reality is things happen sometimes.

"You don't get the ball in time or the towel in time. Or the second one that I got, genuinely I was up at the line in good time, but they were showing the highlights from the point before, so I didn't serve.

"So sometimes things like that make it tougher for the players but there were points where I got told I was playing too slow and I should try to speed up. And I did."

Sousa appeared to have Murray in trouble when he took two consecutive breaks to win the second set. A break in the opening game of the fourth, however, put Murray back in control.

"At that period in the match obviously I was struggling," Murray said.

"There was pressure building. I served badly in that second set and I brought that pressure on myself.

"Then he started to play better tennis and made it difficult for me for that 30 to 40-minute period.

"It was very tough in the end of the second set through to the beginning and middle of the third.

"But when I started serving and returning better, it obviously helped me get out of trouble."

Kyrgios has enjoyed an extra three days' rest after Britain's Kyle Edmund withdrew from their match with an abdominal injury.

Caroline Wozniacki - just like former fiance Rory McIlroy at golf's Irish Open at Royal County Down - had a bad day, losing 6-4 7-6 to Germany's Julia Goerges.

British number one Heather Watson is also out after too many unforced errors led to a 6-2 6-4 second round defeat to America's Sloane Stephens.

Watson said: "I think it was more me, I think I was giving away a lot of free points. I made a lot of unforced errors."

Watson wore heavy strapping on her right arm.

"I've had this with my arm for a week and a bit now, but it wasn't the reason I lost.

"I felt fine. I had it all taped up and I took some painkillers before the match."

"It was just me really. I was just pretty sluggish and slow.

"I'm starting to play more aggressively," she said.

"I'm disappointed I lost. I thought it was a good opportunity, but I wasn't able to take it."

Belfast Telegraph

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