Gasquet and Murray advance, Nadal pulls out with injury

Sports Friday 27/May/2016 23:10 PM
By: Times News Service
Gasquet and Murray advance, Nadal pulls out with injury

Paris: Local favourite Richard Gasquet was simply a class apart as he dismissed maverick Australian Nick Kyrgios 6-2, 7-6 (7), 6-2 to reach the French Open last 16 on Friday.
On a day when former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal pulled out of the tournament with injury and Andy Murray eased past Ivo Karloic, ninth-seeded Gasquet relied on his trademark backhand to unsettle Kyrgios, who appeared to be suffering from shoulder pains and needed treatment from the trainer in the opening set.
Gasquet, who has yet to drop a set, played neatly and although he was at times on the back foot because of his opponent's booming forehand, 17th seed Kyrgios's 44 unforced errors were enough to see the Frenchman through.
The world No. 10, who next faces Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori, had not lost a set in two previous claycourt matches against Kyrgios and it quickly became obvious the Australian would struggle.
"This is the best format for me. His service was less painful here than on other surfaces," Gasquet, who will be playing the fourth round at Roland Garros for the fifth time in six years, told reporters.
"I was able to find the right angles. This being said, it was important for me to win the second set. I knew that one set each it would have been more difficult."
To Kyrgios, it was a no contest.
"I got absolutely destroyed. Wasn't really fun," the 21-year-old said.
Earlier, nine-time champion Nadal sent shock waves around Roland Garros when he unexpectedly pulled out because of an injury to his left wrist.
A day after notching up his 200th Grand Slam victory with an imperious 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 second-round win over Argentina's Facundo Bagnis, a grim-faced Nadal walked into a hurriedly arranged news conference wearing a navy blue brace around his stricken wrist.
"I have to retire from the tournament because I have a problem in my wrist that I have had a couple of weeks," said the Spanish left-hander who turns 30 next week.
"Every day was a little bit worse. We tried to do all the treatments possible. Every single day we spent a lot of hours working so hard to try to play," he added.
"Yesterday I played (after taking) an anaesthetic injection on the wrist," said the dejected Spaniard, who showed no signs of the injury during his win over Bagnis.
"I could play, but the thing is yesterday night I start to feel more and more pain, and today in the morning I feel that I could not move much the wrist."
This is the latest setback to hit the 14-time Grand Slam champion during an injury-plagued career.
Tendonitis in his knees prevented him from defending his Wimbledon title in 2009 and the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medallist also missed the 2012 London Games because of injury.
"It's (the tendon) not torn, but if I keep playing, it's gonna be torn in the next couple of days. Every day the MRI image is a little bit worse," said Nadal, the only man to have won the same grand slam title nine times.
"It's obvious that if it wasn't not Roland Garros I would not have taken the risk of playing the first two days, but it's the most important event of the year for me so we tried our best.
"To win the tournament I needed to play five more matches, and the doctor said that's 100 percent impossible. That (my tendon's) gonna be 100 percent torn," explained Nadal before adding that he first felt the problem during his run to the Madrid semi-finals.
"Today is one of the toughest press conferences of my career. You wait for these two weeks for the whole year, and having to retire today is a very bad news for me.
"I played the last month and a half at very high level... and I felt ready for this tournament. Now is a tough moment, but it's not the end."
Kei Nishikori puffed out his cheeks in relief after he beat Spanish dangerman Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 6-4 in a third-round tussle that featured 16 breaks of serve .
The result meant fifth seed Nishikori was the only Japanese player still left standing of the six who started the tournament -- but at times it seemed like the 26-year-old could be joining the exodus.
The players fought out 37 break points, with each dropping serve eight times, and the 32-year-old Verdasco won more points than Nishikori in the match, 154 to 151.
In the end, however, Nishikori's younger limbs carried him over the finishing line, setting up a fourth-round meeting with French favourite Richard Gasquet.
Defending champion Stan Wawrinka eased into the fourth round with a drama-free 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 win over Jeremy Chardy.
Andy Murray's campaign gathered pace as he made light work of big-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic to reach the fourth round with a quick victory for a change.
After gruelling five-setters in his first two rounds, the second seed gave a masterclass in nullifying the game's biggest serve, breaking twice in succession at the start of the match to set up a 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory.
Big shock
Agnieszka Radwanska, meanwhile, survived a second-set wobble to qualify for the last 16 with a 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-2 victory over Czech Barbora Strycova .
The second-seeded Pole, looking to win her first Grand Slam title, next faces 19th-seeded American Sloane Stephens or Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova.
Following an early trade of breaks, Radwanska pulled away, winning four consecutive games to bag the opening set before opening a 3-0 lead in the second.
But she completely lost her composure and world number 33 Strycova reeled off five straight games on the way to taking the tiebreak.
Order was restored in the decider, however, as Radwanska broke four times to wrap up the win.
Shelby Rogers produced one of the biggest shocks at this year's French Open when she knocked out twice Wimbledon champion and 10th seed Petra Kvitova in the third round .
The 23-year-old American, ranked 108th in the world, won 6-0, 6-7 (3), 6-0 to move into the last 16 of a Grand Slam for the first time.