Andy Murray soaks up pressure to land knockout blow on Joao Sousa in French Open

Britain's Andy Murray returns against Portugal's Joao Sousa at Roland Garros.The British No 1 won 6-2 4-6 6-4 6-1
Britain's Andy Murray returns against Portugal's Joao Sousa at Roland Garros.The British No 1 won 6-2 4-6 6-4 6-1
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Andy Murray insists he has no complaint with the two time-violations he received during his French Open second-round victory over Portugal’s Joao Sousa.

Murray beat Sousa 6-2 4-6 6-4 6-1 on Court Philippe Chatrier to book a third-round match with Australia’s Nick Kyrgios – the man given free passage after Beverley’s Kyle Edmund was forced to withdraw through injury.

But the British No 1 was twice penalised by umpire Pascal Maria for exceeding the 20-second limit between points.

The Scot seemed to be waiting for the wind to drop when he was warned in the eighth game of the second set, while after the second offence in the third, which cost him a fault, he explained to the umpire he had been delayed by highlights being played on the big screen.

Maria’s strict approach came as a surprise after Rafael Nadal confirmed this week he had requested to be given a “break” from Brazilian umpire Carlos Bernardes, who gave the Spaniard time-violations during a match in February.

“I wasn’t annoyed with the time thing at all, I made no issue of it on the court,” said Murray.

“I think it’s there for a reason. Sometimes I play too slow and that’s unintentional. I don’t mean to do it.

“But obviously as a player you have no idea how long you’re taking in between the points and people can say, ‘Oh, they do, they play tennis’, but the reality is things happen sometimes.

“You don’t get the ball in time or the towel in time. Or the second one that I got, genuinely I was up at the line in good time, but they were showing the highlights from the point before, so I didn’t serve.

“So sometimes things like that make it tougher for the players, but there were points where I got told I was playing too slow and I should try to speed up. And I did.”

Murray came through a difficult match against Sousa, who appeared to have the Briton in trouble when he took two consecutive breaks to win the second set.

A break in the opening game of the fourth, however, put Murray back in control and he sealed a convincing victory in two hours and 30 minutes.

“At that period in the match obviously I was struggling,” added Murray.

“There was pressure building. I served badly in that second set and I brought that pressure on myself.

“Then he started to play better tennis and made it difficult for me for that 30- to 40-minute period.

“It was very tough in the end of the second set through to the beginning and middle of the third.

“But when I started serving and returning better, it obviously helped me get out of trouble.”

Murray is the only British player left in the draw after Beverley’s Edmund withdrew with an abdominal injury and Heather Watson lost 6-2 6-4 to America’s Sloane Stephens.

Watson believes she paid the penalty for too many unforced errors, despite starting the match with a perfect record against Stephens, having won all four of the pair’s previous encounters.

But her opponent was too strong in Paris and eased to a 6-2 6-4 victory.

It means Watson is still to reach the third round at Roland Garros and the world No 45 admits she was disappointed with her performance.

“I think it was more me, I think I was giving away a lot of free points,” said Watson.

“I made a lot of unforced errors. Obviously she played well and did what she needed to do.

“She hit some really heavy balls which pushed me back in the beginning and made me think but I was just very inconsistent.”

Watson had worn strapping on her right arm throughout her first-round doubles defeat on Wednesday and the strapping was even heavier during her loss to Stephens.

“I’ve had this with my arm for a week and a bit now, but it wasn’t the reason I lost,” added Watson.

“I felt fine. I had it all taped up and I took some painkillers before the match.

“It was just me really. I was just pretty sluggish and slow out there.

“Finally after like a set and a bit I finally got into it, but at that point it was kind of a little bit too late.”

Elsewhere, Nadal and Novak Djokovic remain on course for a quarter-final clash after both players recorded straight-sets victories.

Nadal eased past fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 6-4 6-3 6-1 and Djokovic overcame a problem with his hip to beat Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller 6-1 6-4 6-4.

In the women’s draw, fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki was dumped out after she lost 6-4 7-6 (7/4) to Germany’s Julia Goerges.