Saturday 18 November 2017

Murray battles back to keep French Open hope alive

Andy Murray battled an ankle problem and Viktor Troicki for four gruelling sets to take their French Open fourth-round clash into a second day after bad light interrupted proceedings last night.

The fourth seed, who twisted his ankle during Saturday's win over Michael Berrer and had been a slight doubt to play, fought back from two sets down to level at 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-2 when the contest was suspended.

Ripping the bandages off his ankle seemed to help Murray, as did 15th seed Troicki's inconsistencies. The momentum has swung away from the Serb but a return today offers Troicki the chance to regain the initiative in the final last-16 clash to be completed.

Elsewhere, Rafael Nadal will go into a repeat of last year's final against Robin Soderling tomorrow knowing he needs to improve if he is to keep alive his hopes of winning a sixth title. The world No 1 reached the quarter-finals with a 7-5 6-3 6-3 victory over Ivan Ljubicic yesterday but again he was not at his best, especially in a very scrappy first set.

Nadal has been exceptionally candid in press conferences at Roland Garros, talking at length about his struggles with confidence and his game and the difficulties of staying at the top of men's tennis year after year.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic, Nadal's chief rival for the title, received a free passage through to the semi-finals when Fabio Fognini withdrew through injury.

The Italian, who had never before been past the third round of a Grand Slam, suffered a thigh problem.

The walkover means Djokovic, who will play either Roger Federer or Gael Monfils in the last four, will need to win the tournament to beat John McEnroe's record start to a season of 42 straight wins in 1984.

In the women's draw, Maria Sharapova continued her impressive form as she booked her place in the quarter-finals with a straight-sets win over Agnieszka Radwanska.

The Russian saw off the No 12 seed 7-6 (7/4) 7-5 on Philippe Chatrier and had to come through the sort of test that will stand her title bid in good stead. She was on the verge of being taken into a third set when she faced up to five set points, only to come back and take the match.

French Open,

Live, Eurosport 10.00/ TG4 11.55

Irish Independent

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