Spain's Ferrer, Almagro in French Open last 16
Date published :
02 Jun 2012 - 15:47:02
Spain's claycourt masters tightened their stranglehold on one half of the French Open draw on Saturday with both David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro reaching the last 16 with straight sets wins.
The sixth seeded Ferrer flattened Russia's Mikhail Youzhny 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 in just 101 minutes, whilst Almagro saw off the challenge of Argentina's Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.
With six-times defending champion Rafael Nadal and Marcel Granollers in action later in the day, there was the distinct possibility that half of the qualifiers for the last 16 in the bottom half of the draw could come from Spain.
In contrast, there were no Spaniards through into the last 16 in the top half of the draw.
The 30-year-old Ferrer, who has yet to make it past the quarter-finals at Roland Garros despite being one of the best players on clay for the last few years, had Youzhny by the throat from the start, winning the first set 6-0 and leading 2-0 in the second before the Russian got off the mark.
Thereafter Ferrer conceded just another three games as he set up a last 16 round meeting with Granollers or French wild card Paul-Henri Mathieu.
"This match was easier than planned, and I was immediately into the match," he said.
"When the situation was a bit difficult, I managed to overcome these difficulties.
"Like there was a break point, and I managed to get through, thanks to my serve. I managed to dictate the game."
Almagro's routine win over Mayer was his seventh straight victory folowing his title triumph in Nice last week.
His previous best at Roland Garros were quarter-final appearances in 2008 and 2010 and on both occasions he lost to Nadal who he will face again should the two Spaniards make it through to the last eight.
Nadal, seeking to become the first player to win seven French Open titles, was in action later Saturday against Argentine qualifier Eduardo Schwank.
Fourth seed Andy Murray opened up his match against Santiago Giraldo of Colombia with no sign of the lower back discomfort that nearly forced him to abandon in the third round.
Also through to the last 16 in early play was eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia who worked his way past Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.
Tipsarevic won the last five games of the match after being 4-1 down in the third set to reach the last 16 at Roland Garros for the first time and will next take on Almagro.