PARIS, June 3 (Reuters) - Top seed Andy Murray eased into the last-16 of the French Open 7-6(8) 7-5 6-0 on Saturday, over a flagging Juan Martin Del Potro.
Murray did enough to keep his nose in front throughout, while the giant Argentine was unable to reprise the heroics that saw the pair produce such magic in last year’s Rio Olympics gold medal match.
While Murray won that affair too -- and their only previous grand slam meeting -- Del Potro had triumphed in their most recent clash, so the Scot was alert to the dangers.
Del Potro, whose career has been blighted by a recurring wrist injury, needed a good start against the world number one, but when he lost a tight first set tiebreak, the stage was set.
Losing that opener on a disputed linecall cut Del Potro deep. Murray jogged to his seat at the changeover, the Argentine stood at the net, bent at the waist, his head resting on the netcord. There he stayed until the umpire called time.
The pair traded blows in the second set with Murray creeping ahead. But a monumental effort by Del Potro saw him break back for 5-5, only to instantly drop serve again as Murray yanked him around the court with tight angles, drop shots and lobs.
This time the Scot would make no mistake and crunched it out with his fourth ace of the match.
Del Potro’s spirit was broken, and the vocal Paris crowd were quelled.
With some exquisite returning and acutely angled groundstrokes, Murray raced through the final set to set up a fourth-round clash with either American 21st seed John Isner or Russian Karen Khachanov. (Editing by Pritha Sarkar)