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PHOTOS: Solid Nadal dismisses Almagro; Djokovic ignores groin worries to advance

Last updated on: May 29, 2015 12:11 IST
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Spain's Rafael Nadal returns a shot during his men's singles match against countryman Nicolas Almagro on Day 5 of the 2015 French Open. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal got his usual confidence boost from Nicolas Almagro at Roland Garros, reaching the third round with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 victory -- his fourth without dropping a set against his Spanish compatriot on the Paris clay.

Nadal, chasing a record-extending 10th title here, was tested by Almagro, who slumped to 154th in the rankings after a foot injury, but the Mallorcan had just too much strength.

The 28-year-old arrived in Paris on the back of his worst season on European clay but he is beginning to look a little more like his old self.

He tightened his game every time Almagro threatened, seeing off six of seven break points and wrapped up victory when he forced his opponent to return a powerful forehand wide on the first match point.

Sixth seed Nadal, who now has a 68-1 French Open record, will face either Russian Andrey Kuznetsov or Austrian Juergen Melzer, his semi-final victim in 2010, in the next round.

"I played a very good match, very solid, I'm happy to be back on court Philippe Chatrier," Nadal told a court side interviewer in French.

Djokovic brushes aside pain and Muller to advance

Serbia's Novak Djokovic plays a backhand during his men's singles match against Luxembourg's Gilles Muller in their 2015 French Open second round match at Roland Garros on Thursday

Serbia's Novak Djokovic plays a backhand during his men's singles match against Luxembourg's Gilles Muller in their 2015 French Open second round match at Roland Garros on Thursday. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic's hopes of completing a career Grand Slam by winning the French Open suffered a scare when he needed a medical timeout during a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win over Luxembourg's Gilles Muller at Roland Garros on Thursday.

The top seed slipped on the clay in the second set of the second round match and stretched his right groin, calling for the physio at the change of ends after the ninth game.

"Thankfully it's nothing major so it's not a concern for the next match," Djokovic told a news conference.

Apart from the injury scare it was a straightforward victory for the Serb who dropped serve only once.

Murray survives first serious test to reach third round

Great Britain's Andy Murray is interviewed by Fabrice Santoro after victory over Portugal's Joao Sousa on Thursday

Great Britain's Andy Murray is interviewed by Fabrice Santoro after victory over Portugal's Joao Sousa on Thursday. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Third seed Andy Murray overcame his first mini-crisis at this year's French Open to beat Portugal's Joao Sousa 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 on Thursday and move into the third round.

The twice semi-finalist took his winning run on clay to 12 matches, starting and finishing the second round clash in fine style, but there was a period in the middle when it went awry.

The 28-year-old Briton had looked in control against an opponent he had never dropped a set to, but in the eighth game of the second he was broken to love and also received a time violation warning from French umpire Pascal Maria.

He immediately broke back but serving at 4-5, 15-30 Sousa came up with a perfect drop shot to earn two set points and converted the first with a smash on to the baseline.

Sousa, the first Portuguese man to win a Tour-level title, had break points early in the third set with Murray rattled, but he wasted one with a rushed forehand return and then saw a Murray ace disappear down the middle line on the second.

Murray raised his game, broke at 3-3 and took control from then on, moving on to an eye-catching third round match against Australian trailblazer Nick Kyrgios.

"He played very well at the end of the second set and the beginning of the third, so I had to weather the storm," Murray, who is tipped to be a serious challenger this year, told kilt-wearing interviewer Fabrice Santoro on court.

Asked later about the time violation, Murray accepted that he can play "too slowly" but said he had been waiting for the screen to stop showing the point before.

"There were points today where I got told I was playing too slow and I tried to speed up," Murray said.

"And I did. But that one point obviously the second time it happened, I was up at the line in good time, and I didn't serve because they were still playing the highlight from the point before."

Nishikori through to last 16 after Becker pulls out

Kei Nishikori. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Kei Nishikori became the first player through to the fourth round earlier on Thursday without hitting a ball when his third-round opponent Benjamin Becker withdrew injured.

The Japanese fifth seed will now get an extended break as his clash with German Becker was scheduled for Friday, meaning he will not play again until Sunday.

The US Open runner-up beat Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci on Wednesday and is yet to drop a set as he looks to better his previous run at Roland Garros when he also reached the last 16 in 2013 before losing to Rafael Nadal.

A medical bulletin said Becker had suffered a pectoral muscle injury during a five-set defeat of 32nd seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain on Wednesday.

Aus Kokkinakis overpowers compatriot Tomic

Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis celebrates match point against compatriot Bernard Tomic

Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis celebrates match point against compatriot Bernard Tomic. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis beat his country's former great hope Bernard Tomic in another cliffhanger, saving three match points at 5-2 down in the fifth which he won 8-6, while fellow teenager, 18-year-old Borna Coric of Croatia, edged Spanish 18th seed Tommy Robredo, also in five sets.

Coric will face Jack Sock in round three, one of only two surviving Americans in the men's draw after John Isner lost to Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

Croatian ninth seed Marin Cilic continued the trend with an easy 7-6(3), 6-1, 6-1 defeat of Italian qualifier Andrea Arnaboldi to move into the third round.

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