Del Potro wins more fans en route to Murray showdown

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If seedings were based on popularity then Juan Martin del Potro might well be number one and he did his reputation no harm following a walkover win against Nicolas Almagro at the French Open.

Thursday's second-round match between the pair was ended when Almagro's knee injury forced him to withdraw, with Del Potro showing true sportsmanship by consoling his stricken rival.

The Argentinian will now face world number one Andy Murray following the Briton's victory over Martin Klizan, while Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic and home hope Gael Monfils were among the other seeds to progress.

But it was not all plain sailing for the top names, with Nick Kyrgios, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych dumped out.

 

DEL POTRO'S SPORTING SHOW AMID ALMAGRO WOE 

Almagro's knee problem has been plaguing him for a while, having forced him out of the Internazionale BNL d'Italia last month.

But it is a particularly cruel blow when injury strikes at a grand slam, especially as Almagro had just levelled it up at one set apiece.

While Del Potro's heartwarming show of support drew warm applause from the crowd, Almagro seemed scarcely able to appreciate it in the moment.

He was visibly distraught at his misfortune at a tournament where the Spaniard has reached the quarter-finals three times.

 

ANDY PROVES HANDY AFTER EARLY MURRAY WORRY

Much has been made of Murray's poor form in 2017, but last year's Roland Garros runner-up has to be considered a threat in Paris.

He set up a third-round clash with Del Potro after overcoming an early wobble to defeat Klizan 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 6-2 7-6 (7-3).

Murray leads Del Potro 6-3 on the head-to-head record, having secured a famous win against him in the Rio 2016 Olympics final.

 

KYRGIOS TAKES AIM AT (NOT WITH) RACKET

For mere tennis enthusiasts, a racket is something to be treasured, but the pros get through them with alarming regularity - and perhaps none more so than Kyrgios.

The Australian, seeded 18th, was beaten by Kevin Anderson and it was a couple of his many rackets that bore the brunt of his frustration.

He smashed more than one en route to a four-set loss - including a particularly frantic demolition job at a change of ends - as another shot at major glory passed him by.

 

MIXED FORTUNES FOR SEEDS 

While Wawrinka, Cilic and Monfils enjoyed straight-sets triumphs and joined fellow seeds John Isner, Kei Nishikori, Fabio Fognini, Pablo Cuevas and Richard Gasquet in progressing, there were a couple of other upsets besides Kyrgios' loss.

Spaniard Ferrer, who reached the final in 2013, lost a near four-hour marathon match against compatriot Feliciano Lopez as the 30th seed suffered a premature exit.

And Berdych succumbed 7-5 6-4 6-4 against Russian youngster Karen Khachanov.