TENNIS: Andy Murray makes hard work of Joao Sousa to progress at French Open

Britain's Andy Murray celebrates winning his second round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Portugal's Joao Sousa
Britain's Andy Murray celebrates winning his second round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Portugal's Joao Sousa

Andy Murray booked his place in the French Open third round after surviving a feisty encounter against Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-2 4-6 6-4 6-1.

Murray was made to feel uncomfortable on Court Philippe Chatrier by a combination of Sousa, who played brilliantly to claim the second set, and French umpire Pascal Maria, who handed the Scot two time-violations for taking too long over his serve.

Frustration made Murray briefly vulnerable, but the British number one regained his composure to seal victory in two hours 30 minutes and advance to a round three match against Australia’s Nick Kyrgios.

Kyrgios has enjoyed an extra three days rest after Britain’s Kyle Edmund withdrew from their match with an abdominal injury and Murray will be relieved to have escaped the kind of early tournament marathon that harmed his chances last year.

“In the second set and at the start of the third he raised his game a lot,” Murray said after the match.

“I had to tell myself to get through it and weather the storm and hope his level would drop because he was playing extremely well.

“Fortunately I managed to take a few break points and turn it around.”

Sousa, like Murray, learned his trade on the clay-courts of Barcelona but the similarities end there, with the world number 44 losing all five of the pair’s previous meetings.

Murray put his opponent under pressure immediately and after a 13-minute opening game that included seven deuces, he won his fifth break point to strike an early blow.

The Scot was playing with confidence and fluency from the back, which Sousa was unable to match, and another break in the seventh game allowed him to close out the set with ease.

Sousa established a foothold by taking the second set with a more assertive approach which ruffled Murray.

However, Murray regained his confidence won the third and the final set was the most straightforward of all, as the Scot move into the next round.