Andy Murray battled his way through to the third round of the French Open today, beating Joao Sousa 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
The British No.1 rattled his way through the first set to win 6-2 as he broke Sousa’s serve twice with plenty of aggressive returns in amongst lengthy rallies.
The second set proved tougher as Sousa raised his game and a tense battle of breaks commenced which resulted in the world No.44 levelling the scores.
Sousa looked the stronger at the beginning of the third but Murray eventually regained his focus and loaded his arsenal with more variety to take the set 6-4.
The fourth set was much more of a cruise for Murray as he broke Sousa’s serve three times and secured his ticket into the third round where he will play Australia’s Nick Kyrgios.
The match began competitively with the first game lasting over 12 minutes, but it was Murray who snatched the break and followed it up with a 90-second hold to love.
Sousa got himself on the board before Murray raced aggressively through another service game to love.
Murray continued to give Sousa a hard time on his serve, returning incessantly and managed to break his Portuguese opponent again to leave him on serve for the set.
Two double faults in the next game spoiled Murray’s flow a little but, with two breaks under his belt, it was only a matter of time before he sealed it 6-3.
Both players were holding their serves to begin with in the second set but Sousa began to turn up the heat, getting more weight behind his shots to increase pressure on Murray.
The set was very low-key for a while and Murray was struggling to find the form he had in the first and Sousa eventually broke him leaving the Portuguese on serve for the set.
Murray held his nerve, though, and broke back immediately but it was only a brief respite for the Scot as Sousa dealt out the same hand again before holding his serve to level the match at one set apiece.
Sousa began to look like the stronger player at the beginning of the third as he breezed through his service games and threatened Murray’s serve once again.
Around the halfway point, though, the Scot seemed to grow in confidence again, pulling off stylish net play and aces to keep up the pressure on his opponent and eventually went a break up.
On the two-hour mark, Murray threatened to break again and get the third set out the way but Sousa held on before Murray wrapped things up with an ace in the next game to seal the set 6-4 and go ahead once more.
Murray gave himself an immediate advantage in the fourth set as he broke Sousa’s serve in the first game and then again after a strong hold.
Murray finally had his opponent wrapped round his little finger as he conducted him round the court and eventually grabbed himself an easy third break and the match.