Murray downs Karlovic; Kvitova ousted

Paris, May 27

Andy Murray cut down Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic to reach the French Open last-16 on Friday as two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova became the fourth top 10 women’s seed to be knocked out.

Murray, a three-time semi-finalist, had needed two five-set matches and three days of play to get to the last 32. But on Friday the 29-year-old needed just a shade under two hours to beat 6ft 11-inch (2.11m) Karlovic 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3). It was his seventh win in seven matches against the 37-year-old as Murray goes on to face either John Isner of the United States or Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia. “Especially at the end it was very close. I got off to a quick start and against someone like Ivo that’s very important,” said Murray.

Canada’s eighth seed Milos Raonic overcame a left hip injury to defeat Slovakian lucky loser Andrej Martin, the world No 133, and reach the last 16 for a second time. Raonic won 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-3 but only after requiring a medical timeout at the start of the third set to treat a hip injury. The Canadian, plagued by a similar injury after reaching the Australian Open semi-finals in January, then needed to take a pain-killer before racing away to victory.

Raonic, a quarter-finalist in 2014, next faces 55th-ranked Albert Ramos-Vinolas after the Spaniard stunned American 23rd seed Jack Sock 6-7 (2/7), 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Ramos-Vinolas, 28, had not won a match at Roland Garros since 2011 before this year.

Spanish fourth seed and last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Garbine Muguruza won the last nine games to knock out Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer 6-3, 6-0. Muguruza, a quarter-finalist in the last two years, faces a Russian challenge in the last-16 where either dangerous 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova or Anastasia Pavlychenkova will be her opponent.

Romanian sixth seed Simona Halep, the runner-up to Maria Sharapova in 2014, needed three sets to see off 18-year-old Japanese player Naomi Osaka 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Halep, 24, next faces 2010 finalist Sam Stosur who defeated 2015 runner-up Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-7 (0/7), 7-5. It was only Stosur’s fourth win 15 meetings with Safarova who has been troubled for most of this season with a debilitating bacterial infection.

Czech 10th seed Kvitova became the fourth top 10 seed to exit by the third round after she lost 6-0, 6-7 (3/7), 6-0 to American world No 108 Shelby Rogers. Kvitova, a semi-finalist in 2012, committed 36 unforced errors as 23-year-old Rogers reached the last 16 of a Grand Slam for the first time. Rogers next plays Romanian 25th seed Irina-Camelia Begu.

With Halep also through, it’s the first time since 1997 that two Romanian women have made the last-16.