French Open

Huge relief for Murray after sleepless night

Scot reaches last 16 at Roland Garros on Sunday, a day after match is disrupted due to fading light, but Federer exits

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 June, 2014, 12:47am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 June, 2014, 12:49am

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray won a five-set marathon spread over two days against Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany to reach the last 16 of the French Open.

The seventh seed from Britain, won 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 12-10 after 40 minutes' play yesterday.

Fourth seed Roger Federer slipped to the level of ordinary mortals when 18th seed Ernests Gulbis of Latvia beat him 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-3), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in the fourth round.

It was his earliest departure at Roland Garros since 2004 and the 2009 champion can have few complaints as Gulbis earned the win. "It was the biggest win of my career," said Gulbis who has won two titles this year.

In Murray's match, the thrilling tennis of late Saturday continued with no sign of the leg problems, which had Murray grimacing in the Paris gloom.

The pair resumed at two sets all and 7-7, and Murray had a match point at 9-8. Kohlschreiber saved it with a brave overhead after a great rally, but Murray made no mistake on his second, scything a backhand return past his opponent.

Kohlschreiber had shown tremendous composure as he served to stay in the match six times, but finally succumbed at the seventh time, although he did have a break point of his own in yesterday's tense finale.

Murray plays 24th seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain who beat 12th seed Richard Gasquet of France in another resumed match yesterday.

"Last night was tough as I did a lot of running," said Murray. "Yesterday I was cramping, so maybe it was a good thing the match was stopped. I didn't sleep much last night and woke up a few times, I was very nervous.

"I just tried to do my usual preparations, but it is not easy coming back 7-7. Considering the circumstances today, I thought we played some very good tennis."

Kohlschreiber was sanguine about his defeat. "I did a very good job, very happy, pleased with my game. I tried a few things. They worked out pretty well. At the end, there were just a few points that make the difference.

"Unfortunately, someone has to lose. But it was just yesterday and today was a great experience for me. He's a huge fighter. He never gives up."

Murray missed last year's French Open with a back injury.

Reuters, Agence France-Presse