Paris - Andy Murray will be hoping he can
see off giant Ivo Karlovic in straight sets as the French Open third round gets
underway at Roland Garros on Friday having battled hard to get through his
first two rounds.
The second-seed, seeking a first tournament
win in Paris to go with his 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon wins, has spent on
court a total of 7 hours 15 minutes spread over two five-setters against Czech
veteran Radek Stepanek and French wildcard Mathias Bourgue.
"I need to go and rest, it's been a
tough few days. To go far in the tournament you can't play too many matches
like this," Murray said after his win over Bourgue.
It might not be that easy against Karlovic,
the tallest player on the tour, known for playing marathon sets that very often
go to tie-breakers.
His second round was a good example, with
him winning it 12-10 in the fifth set after 4 hours and 31 minutes of play.
At 37 he is the oldest player to reach the third
round in Paris since Jimmy Connors in 1991.
Defending champion Stan Wawrinka has also
been in the wars, needing five tough sets to defeat Lukas Rosol of the Czech
Republic in a first round escape.
The third seed will take on Frenchman
Jeremy Chardy on the last match of the day scheduled for the Philippe Chatrier
The curtain-raiser for that will be what
should be a huge crowd-pleaser opposing another Frenchman, Richard Gasquet, and
colourful Australian youngster Nick Kyrgios.
Kyrgios saved nine match points against
Gasquet at the Wimbledon in a 2014 second-round clash, before the Frenchman
avenged that loss a year later in a controversial last-16 match.
The Australian faced accusations of
'tanking' a game in the latter of those Wimbledon clashes, though Gasquet has
no problem with him
"He's the best newcomer coming now, so
it will be an incredible match for me," said the Frenchman, who defeated
fellow former Roland Garros boys champion Bjorn Fratangelo of the United States
on Wednesday to reach the last 32.
Canadian eighth seed Milos Raonic and
Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori will also be in action, taking on
respectively Andrej Martin of Slovakia and veteran Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.
In the women's tournament, Agnieszka
Radwanska of Poland takes on 30th seed Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic,
while fourth seeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza plays big-hitting Belgian Yanina
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova
goes up against American Shelby Rogers who will be seeking to reach the last 16
of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.