Tennis star Andy Murray beat Juan Martin Del Potro in the French Open Saturday, bringing an 84-minute set to a close and sending the Scottish athlete to the fourth round of the French Open, which enters its second week Sunday.
“It was another good battle … Andy, he’s very smart on court,” Del Potro said to Guardian reporters after losing. “He has all the shots, but also is great mentally. That’s why he’s No1 in the world and I know how important this tournament is for him. I wish him all the best and, hopefully, he can go far.”
It was Del Potro’s first trip to the French Open in five years, since he received a wrist in 2015 that crippled his playing. After losing to Murray in the first round, Del Potro showed a moment of emotion as he smacked his racquet angrily and slumped on the net before resuming the second round. Later, Del Potro said, “I couldn’t believe I lost that set,” but added, “This happens when you play against the number one in the world.”
Andy Murray said he felt competing against a fierce component and winning put him in a better mindset for the rest of the competition.
“To be playing him this early on in the slam is not easy, but it can be a very positive thing,” Murray said to The Guardian. “You play someone that good, maybe you’re a little bit more switched on. Your focus is maybe a little bit higher.”
Murray also commented on the quality of his performance, noting that earlier in the season he showed his best game in the second set, but that was changing. “I played some good matches at the beginning of the year, but definitely in the clay-court season, the second or third sets were the best I have played, for sure,” he said.
Rain reportedly forced five third-round singles matches set for Saturday to be delayed, which means the fourth-round roster is not yet set. However, the quarter-finals will feature Rafael Nadal versus Roberto Bautista-Agut and Novak Djokovic versus Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the men’s category.
On the women’s side, champion Venus Williams will take on Timea Bascinszky as Kristina Mladenovic plays against defending champion Garbine Muguruza.
According to ESPN, Williams is considered a favorite this year to win the women’s championship. It’s been 15 years since Williams’ first and only other visit to the French Open; her sister Serena Williams came second place in the 2016 Women’s French Open, but sat out the competition this year due to her pregnancy.
Gael Monfils will battle Richard Gasquet Sunday to complete the third round, as will Hyeon Chung versus Kai Nishikori and Karen Khachanov versus John Isner. Murray will play against Khachanov or Isner, depending on who wins the match. Nishikori was in the lead against Chung when rain suspended their battle.
The other British citizen in the French Open is Kyle Edmund. According to The Guardian, there haven’t been two British players at the French Open since the Beatles were on the charts, but the Yorkshire-born Edmund nevertheless made it to the French Open to battle South African Kevin Anderson.
After five sets played over three hours, however, Anderson won out, making it to the fourth round to go head to head against Marin Cilic in the final 16.
Bleacher Report predicts that Nadal will defeat opponent Bautista-Agut, and Djokovic will defeat Ramos-Vinolas Sunday, moving both players to the top eight. Ramos, however, told reporters he was confident about his playing ability and his match against Djokovic, saying his performance has improved throughout the competition.
The final round in the French Open will be held June 10.
[Featured Image by Adam Pretty/Getty Images]