TENNIS: Big names breeze through to last 16 at French Open

Britain's Andy Murray applauds after defeating Australia's Nick Kyrgios
Britain's Andy Murray applauds after defeating Australia's Nick Kyrgios
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Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray saw off the challenge of the young pretenders as they all booked their places in the French Open last 16 with straight-sets victories.

Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray saw off the challenge of the young pretenders as they all booked their places in the French Open last 16 with straight-sets victories.

Djokovic and Nadal, who are due to play each other in the quarter-finals, are yet to drop a set at Roland Garros as Djokovic beat Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4 6-4 6-4 while Nadal overcame Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 6-1 6-3 6-2.

Andy Murray is also through after the British number one saw off Australian Nick Kyrgios 6-4 6-2 6-3.

Kyrgios, 20, and Kokkinakis, 19, in particular, are considered leading lights for the next generation of tennis stars but neither were able to overcome their more experienced opponents.

“Tennis needs players like Thanasi,” Djokovic said.

“He is a teenager but still able to come out on centre court and play with courage and play with power and believe in himself.

“He’s one of this group of three or four young players that are starting to be more and more consistent and make a couple of big wins in their careers and that are obviously expected to do very well from the tennis world.

“We didn’t have that many young successful players under 20 in the last six or seven years so I think it’s quite refreshing for tennis.

“I thought he served well. He played pretty well. I made the three breaks each set, and that was enough for the win.”

Djokovic will now play France’s Richard Gasquet, who came from behind to beat South African Kevin Anderson 4-6 7-6 (7/4) 7-5 6-4 while Nadal faces American Jack Sock, who dispatched 18-year-old Croatian Borna Coric 6-2 6-1 6-4.

Sock has only lost three service games out 50 so far in Paris and Nadal is aware of the threat his opponent poses.

“He’s a great player,” Nadal said.

“He’s playing fantastic, winning very tough matches against very difficult opponents like (Grigor) Dimitrov, Pablo Carreno Busta, and today against Coric.

“He has an amazing forehand, a very good serve, and then he’s a player that can play very aggressive and is dangerous.

“I know I have to be very solid. I know I have to play aggressive and try not to let him hit the forehand in positions, because I am going to be in big trouble. I’m going to try.”

Murray will now take on Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who eased past Belgium’s David Goffin 6-3 6-4 6-2 and whom he beat in Rome only three weeks ago.

Spain’s David Ferrer is also through after battling back to beat Italian Simone Bolelli 3-6 6-1 5-7 6-0 6-1. The 33-year-old will play Marin Cilic for a place in the quarter-finals.