Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

Rafael Nadal untroubled but Andy Murray on the brink of third round exit in Paris

Story highlights

  • Rafael Nadal beats Leonardo Mayer in straight sets
  • Andy Murray locked in five set struggle when play halted
  • Gael Monfils wins epic five-setter against Fabio Fognini
  • Sloane Stephens to face Simona Halep in last 16

Rafael Nadal took another big step towards a ninth French Open title Saturday while one of his chief rivals in his half of the draw Andy Murray hovered on the brink of elimination before play was halted in fading light.

Wimbledon champion Murray and Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber were locked at 7-7 in the fifth and final set on Suzanne Lenglen.

The British seventh seed will be ruing several lapses of concentration, seeming to have the match in his grasp when a break up in the fourth set and again in the decider.

Each time Kohlschreiber, who won the Dusseldorf event last week, hit back and survived some nervous moments in the final game on his own service to keep the match alive.

Who will be the tennis ace of 2014?

    Just Watched

    Who will be the tennis ace of 2014?

Who will be the tennis ace of 2014? 04:52
Secret to beating tennis' big four

    Just Watched

    Secret to beating tennis' big four

Secret to beating tennis' big four 05:40

The pair will come back Sunday with the winner to face either home favorite Richard Gasquet or Fernando Verdasco in the fourth round.

Gasquet trails

Verdasco led 12th seed Gasquet by two sets and it was 2-2 in the third set when their match was also halted in the gloom.

Earlier, top seed Nadal dispatched Leonardo Mayer in straight sets 6-2 7-5 6-2 and has yet to drop a set, while his Spanish compatriot David Ferrer also went through in fine style against Italy's Andreas Seppi.

Ferrer is a potential quarterfinal opponent for Nadal but first the four-time defending champion must get past fast-rising Serb Dusan Lajovic.

Match of the middle Saturday at Roland Garros may well have been Gael Monfils' five-set defeat of Italian 14th seed Fabio Fognini.

Ever popular Monfils prevailed 6-2 in the decider after dropping the fourth to love.

Rafael Nadal: Comeback was difficult

    Just Watched

    Rafael Nadal: Comeback was difficult

Rafael Nadal: Comeback was difficult 02:35
Andy Murray wins Wimbledon men's final

    Just Watched

    Andy Murray wins Wimbledon men's final

Andy Murray wins Wimbledon men's final 01:53

Halep hopes

While the established order is, in the main, still on top in the men's draw, Simona Halep, a 22-year-old Romanian, is the highest surviving seed in the women's tournament.

The fourth-ranked Halep was impressive again in a 6-4 6-0 win over Spain's Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, but standing in her way for a quarterfinal place is Sloane Stephens of the United States.

Stephens, 21, reached her sixth straight grand slam fourth round, the best record on the WTA Tour, with a 6-3 6-4 win over Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

Stephens, who many see as a natural successor to Serena Williams, says she is more motivated at the big four events rather than regular tournaments.

"I just peak at four tournaments a year. Every other tournament just gets me ready for these," she told the official French Open website.

Andy Murray's historic Wimbledon win

    Just Watched

    Andy Murray's historic Wimbledon win

Andy Murray's historic Wimbledon win 03:48
Sharapova's love affair with Paris

    Just Watched

    Sharapova's love affair with Paris

Sharapova's love affair with Paris 01:53

Stephens next

Halep is determined to make amends for a defeat to Stephens the only time they have met.

"I played her in Australia a couple of seasons ago and she beat me very fast. Now I think I'm more prepared than I was then. I have confidence I can take revenge."

Former French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova will be a representative of the "old guard" in the last 16, with the 28-year-old, a 100-1 outsider at the start of the tournament, emerging as a real threat.

She battled to a 6-7 6-1 9-7 victory over Czech fifth seed Petra Kvitova, her 10th appearance in the last 16 at Roland Garros in 11 years.

Ivanovic beaten

She will next play Lucy Safarova, who continued the string of upsets with a 6-3 6-3 win over 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic.

Only one player from the top six of the rankings, Halep, is in the last 16, with seventh seed and 2012 champion Maria Sharapova favored by many to claim a second French Open title.

She will play Samantha Stosur of Australia in an eagerly-awaited fourth round clash Sunday.

Second seed Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer headline the action on Philippe Chatrier with intriguing match ups against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Ernests Gulbis respectively.


    • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

      Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
    • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
    • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

      His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
    • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

      Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
    • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

      Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
    • "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
    • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

      It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
    • Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.