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Djokovic races into fourth round‚ Murray thru

  Kvitova‚ Errani advance in women's section; Romania's Mitu shocks 2010 champion Schiavone


Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia during their third round match of the French Open at the Roland Garros Stadium in Paris on Saturday. Djokovic registered a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory to advance to fourth round.


PARIS: Novak Djokovic seems in a hurry as he chases his ninth Grand Slam title — and the only one he’s never won — racing into the French Open fourth round with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win against 19-year-old Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Ranked 84th, Kokkinakis never stood a chance against the top-ranked Serb. He dropped his serve three times and could not force a single break point in a match lasting one hour, 49 minutes. Next up for Djokovic is either 15th-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa, or No 20 Richard Gasquet of France.

Earlier, two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray extended his impressive winning streak on clay, reaching the fourth round after beating big-hitting Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 6-2, 6-3. The third-seeded Briton, who lost in the semi-finals last year against Rafael Nadal, was hardly troubled on court Suzanne Lenglen.

After Kyrgios saved a first match point with a stunning forehand at the net, Murray took his next chance by returning a serve with a powerful two-handed backhand from the back of the court that zipped past the Australian. He beat the 29th-seeded Kyrgios for the second straight Grand Slam, having knocked him out of the Australian at the quarterfinal stage earlier this year, and has not dropped a set against him in three meetings. Next up for Murray, who hasn’t lost a match on clay this season with titles in Munich and Madrid, is Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who beat 17th-seeded David Goffin of Belgium 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

US Open champion Marin Cilic also advanced to the fourth round in style with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win against No 23 Leonardo Mayer of Argentina, while in the women’s draw fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic and former finalist Sara Errani of Italy both advanced. But 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone went out.

Under bright sunshine, Kyrgios entertained the crowd more than he threatened Murray. After retrieving a good lob with a superb shot through his legs, he then raised his arms in triumph to milk the point. Under the watchful eye of coach Amelie Mauresmo — a two-time Grand Slam winner — Murray broke in the seventh game to lead 4-3, and overcame a brief wobble in the next game. Trailing 15-40, he saved two break points, the second with a flicked backhand lob from the back of the court that drew enthusiastic applause. Kyrgios, when 5-2 down in the second set and after dropping his serve for the second time, called for some medical assistance. Briefly, he wore some white strapping on his wrist and elbow.

Kyrgios held at the start of the third set after saving three break points and then broke Murray’s serve with a whipped forehand from the back of the court that whizzed past Murray before he could get across to it. But, after Murray broke straight back, Kyrgios whacked a ball angrily out of the court.

Meanwhile, Kvitova — the reigning Wimbledon champion and a French Open semi-finalist three years ago — won 6-3, 6-2 against Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania. Errani, seeded 17th, beat No 10 Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-3, 6-3 and Schiavone lost 7-5, 6-4 to Andreea Mitu of Romania. Madison Keys, 16th-seeded American, lost 6-4, 6-2 to Swiss Timea Bacsinszky.

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