Tuesday 21 November 2017

Del Potro sets up Murray clash after Almagro quits in tears

Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro. Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters
Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro. Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters

Eleanor Crooks

Juan Martin Del Potro faces Andy Murray in the third round of the French Open after a knee injury forced his opponent to quit yesterday's match in tears.

The Argentinian consoled Nicolas Almagro and helped the sobbing Spaniard off the court when he retired after the third set was tied at 1-1.

Former US Open champion Del Potro - who is now ranked 30th in the world - was struggling with a groin injury in the opening set, which affected his movement, but he insisted it was "not a source of concern" for his next match.

Assuming he is close to fully fit, Del Potro, who is still working his way back up the rankings after wrist problems that almost ended his career, will present a serious test of Murray's Roland Garros ambitions.

However, the Scot insisted he is playing well enough to beat Del Potro after battling past Martin Klizan.

The world No 1 needed three hours and 35 minutes to defeat the world No 50 from Slovakia, eventually coming through 6-7 (3/7) 6-2 6-2 7-6 (7/3).

It was a very patchy performance from Murray, who started poorly and then got himself into trouble again at the start of the fourth set before mounting a comeback.

Murray was determined to send a message of positivity, saying: "I definitely feel like I'm capable of winning that match.

"I'm playing way better than I was two weeks ago, and today's match will have done me a lot of good, because physically I pulled up well and felt good, so I will gain a lot of confidence from that. And I also hit a lot of balls out there, more than the first-round match.

"It seems like everyone thinks I didn't play particularly well, but there was some good stuff against a tough opponent. It's not easy to play against someone like him. So hopefully I will keep improving in the next one."

Meanwhile, former champion Stan Wawrinka progressed to round three with a 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 victory over Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov.

French Open,

Live, Eurosport/ITV4, 9.30

Irish Independent

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