Andy Murray hopes he has repaired some of the damage from his first two matches at the French Open after taking a much more direct route into the fourth round.
Having expended considerable physical, emotional and mental energy battling from behind to beat Radek Stepanek and Mathias Bourgue in five sets, Murray knew he could not afford another epic. The Scot was happy to be facing 6ft 11in Ivo Karlovic because it meant short rallies, and that was exactly how it panned out. Of the 174 points they played, only 22 comprised more than four shots.
Murray made the perfect start, winning the first five games, and needed only an hour and 56 minutes to complete a 6-1 6-4 7-6 (7/3) victory.
The world No 2 said: “Obviously any match you play, the quicker you get it done, the better, especially in these events with best of five when it can go long.
“So it was nice to win quickly today. I spoke about that the other day, if it was possible to get this one done quickly, it gives me a chance to recover from the first few days, which is good.
“I have had good success against him in the past, and I have always enjoyed playing against serve and volleyers, normally.
“Obviously it’s a bit easier. I didn’t know my opponent in the second round, (I’ve) never really seen him play a match, which can make things a bit tricky. But today was different.”
The match was also good practice for his next clash, where he will face 6ft 10in John Isner, who came from two sets to one down to defeat Teymuraz Gabashvili in five.
Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal pulled out of the French Open with a left wrist injury.
The Spaniard said: “I had a scan and the results are not positive. It’s not broken but if I keep playing it’s going to be broken the next couple of days.”
Simona Halep survived a major examination from a rising star but two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is out.
The 10th seed was beaten 6-0 6-7 (3/7) 6-0 against Shelby Rogers, ranked 108 in the world.
Halep edged out Naomi Osaka 4-6 6-2 6-3.