Paris: World number one Andy Murray reached the French Open third round on Thursday with a bruising 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) win over Martin Klizan of Slovakia.
Murray will face Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro for a place in the last 16.
"I expected a tough match. Martin goes for his shots, he can hit winners with that forehand from anywhere on the court," said 2016 runner-up Murray.
"I tried to play a solid match, I hit deeper the longer the match went on and tried to dictate the points."
Murray faced Del Potro in two epic encounters last year.
He beat the Argentine in a marathon Olympic final before Del Potro, now 30 in the world, gained his revenge with a come-from-behind win in five sets in the Davis Cup semi-final.
"It will be very tough. Juan Martin is playing a lot better than his ranking," said Murray.
"He's come back from injury and had some tough draws this year. It should be a great atmosphere."
Klizan smashed 57 winners on Thursday but 64 unforced errors as his all-or-nothing game proved in vain.
Third seed Stan Wawrinka, the 2015 champion, reached the French Open last 32 for the 10th time with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 win over Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine.
Wawrinka will face Italy's Fabio Fognini for a place in the fourth round.
Juan Martin del Potro set up a potential French Open blockbuster against Andy Murray on Thursday after a heartfelt display of compassion towards a stricken rival.
The giant Argentine, no stranger to injury after a career-long battle with wrist problems, made the third round after Spanish opponent Nicolas Almagro quit in tears during the third set of their tie with a left knee injury.
In a moving conclusion on Court Two, Del Potro sat next to the stricken, sobbing Almagro, offering him water while patting the head of the inconsolable 31-year-old.
Del Potro had also gone to the Spaniard's aid when he had collapsed at the back of the court, weeping, just moments earlier.
Del Potro, 28, had taken the first set of the second round clash 6-3 before Almagro claimed the next by the same score.
They were locked at 1-1 in the third when Almagro quit.
Del Potro, playing Paris for the first time in five years after battling a series of wrist injuries, also suffered an injury scare himself when he pulled up, holding his left leg in the second set.
The former US Open champion goes on to face either world number one Murray or Martin Klizan for a place in the last 16.
Del Potro reached the quarter-finals on his last appearance in 2012 with a best run to the semi-finals three years earlier.
Murray, the 2016 runner-up to Novak Djokovic, tackles fiery Slovak Klizan for a place in the third round.
World number 50 Klizan has already hit the headlines in Paris by being accused of faking an injury in his opener against French wildcard Laurent Lokoli.
Third seed Stan Wawrinka, the 2015 champion, was bidding to make the last 32 for the 10th time against Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine.
Japanese eighth seed Kei Nishikori routed France's Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-0, 7-6 (7/5).
The world number nine will face South Korean Hyeon Chung for a place in the last 16.
Nishikori's best performance at Roland Garros came in 2015 when he reached the quarter-finals.
Former US Open champion Marin Cilic, the seventh seed, made the third round for the seventh time thanks to a comfortable 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over 32-year-old Konstantin Kravchuk, the Russian world number 129 making his Paris debut.
"How far I can go? I don't know. It's not up to me only. I'm very satisfied with the way I'm playing," said Cilic.
Unseeded 21-year-old Karen Khachanov of Russia continued his impressive debut, beating Czech 13th seed Tomas Berdych, a semi-finalist seven years ago, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.
Big-serving John Isner of the United States fired 21 aces to defeat Italy's Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/2).
Isner and Lorenzi were two of the 30 men in the second round aged over 30 -- an Open era record at any Slam.
Fifth seed Elina Svitolina, a quarter-finalist in 2015 and recent Rome champion, made the third round by beating Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska, seeded nine, saw off Belgian qualifier Alison Van Uytvanck 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-3.
Published Date: Jun 01, 2017 08:27 pm | Updated Date: Jun 01, 2017 09:24 pm