Murray through, but Nishikori struggles

Saturday’s much-anticipated clash between world number one Andy Murray and Juan-Martin Del Potro turned out to be a bit of a damp squib after Murray clinched a tight first set in the tiebreak.

It could have been oh so different if Del Potro’s forehand hadn’t been judged out by the tiniest of margins, but credit to Murray for capitalising on his fortune to finish off his dangerous opponent in straight sets, although the result flattered the Scotsman somewhat.

Despite the previous animosity between the two, Del Potro was magnanimous in defeat, praising Murray’s on-court intelligence.

“Andy, he’s very smart on court. 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,” he said.

“I wish him all the best and, hopefully, he can go far.”

Murray is now into the second week of the tournament against all odds, and despite his patchy pre-tournament form will be hoping to go one further than last year’s runner-up showing.

He was joined in the last 16 by 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka, who overcame the dangerous Fabio Fognini in a relatively straightforward win.

Another top-ten seed, Kei Nishkori (8) will be hoping to join them, although the momentum in his ‘Battle of Asia’ clash against South Korea’s Hyeon Chung was against him when the match was suspended due to rain.

Nishikori, who has yet to win a grand slam, was struggling after winning the first two sets as Chung fought back to take a 3-0 lead in the fourth.

The match up marks the first time in the Open era that two Asian men have met as late as the third round in a Grand Slam tournament, while Chung is also seeking to become the first South Korean to reach the fourth round of the French Open.

The Korean has not yet beaten a top-10 player in six attempts, and this could prove to be his best chance yet on Sunday.

In other Day Seven action, the King of Clay Rafael Nadal will face off against compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut in what is surprisingly only their second ever meeting.

Nadal won that 2014 match at the Madrid Open in straight sets.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic is also up against Spanish opposition in Albert. Ramos-Viñolas. Both players are coming off five-setters in the previous round, but with Djokovic holding a 100 percent record over his opponent the smart money will be on the Serbian to progress.

In the women’s draw, the biggest shock of Saturday was the exit of number nine seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who went down rather easily 6-2, 6-1 to the unseeded home player Alize Cornet.

Never at home on clay, the Pole had no answer the aggressive hitting of Cornet as once again her Roland Garros campaign ended with a whimper.

Cornet’s win saw her set up a tasty all-French last 16 clash with Caroline Garcia, who ended the run of Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei – first round conqueror of Johanna Konta.

The match promises to be a spicy encounter as the duo have not spoken since April following a Twitter spat over Garcia’s withdrawal from a Federation Cup clash with Spain.

Asked whether they would kiss and make up ahead of the meeting, Garcia replied, “”No, not before, and probably not after.”

A modern-day twist on what should be another French classic.

Are you ready for world class clay court tennis? Don’t miss a single moment by catching all the LIVE Roland Garros 2017 action on FOX Sports Play.

Comments