Andy Murray cruised into the last 16 at the French Open on Friday, downing giant Ivo Karlovic in straight sets in stark contrast to the five-setters he needed in the first two rounds.
The second seed won 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) in 1 hour 56 minutes. His victories over Czech veteran Radek Stepanek and French wildcard Mathias Bourgue took him a combined total of 7 hours 15 minutes.
The victory lined him up for a tie against either John Isner of the United States or Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia with a place in the quarter-finals on the line.
“Especially at the end it was very close. Got off to a quick start and against someone like Ivo that’s very important. Glad to win that tie-break at the end,” he said
Murray got off to the best of possible starts by breaking Karlovic’s huge serve at the first two times of asking.
That gave him a 5-0 lead and two games later he had the first set in the bag at 6-1.
At 37, Karlovic was the oldest player to reach the third round in Paris since Jimmy Connors in 1991 and he topped the charts after two rounds winning 92 percent of his service games.
But he struggled again at the start of the second, Murray making it three breaks out four service games faced.
Comfortable on his own serve Murray pulled away again and he was soon two sets up.
The third was a tighter affair, but with Karlovic unable to muster up a single break point, it was just a case of Murray grabbing a fourth break of serve when the chance came along or winning the tie-break.
The latter proved to be the option and Murray made no mistake with that, grabbing a mini-break at the start to take control.