ANDY Murray has survived his second successive five-set French Open battle to reach the third round, avoiding what would have been his worst Grand Slam loss in eight years.
Murray, three times a semi-finalist, wore down France’s world number 164 Mathias Bourgue, who had never won a tour-level match before this week, 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 and goes on to face 37-year-old Ivo Karlovic for a place in the last 16.
After coming back from two sets to love down to beat Radek Stepanek, also 37, in the first round in a tie played over two days, the British star had looked down and out once again on Wednesday.
After pocketing the third set, 22-year-old Bourgue, reduced to tears by the end, had break points for a 1-0 lead in the fourth.
Defending champion and third seed Stan Wawrinka defeated New York-born Taro Daniel of Japan 7-6 (9/7), 6-3, 6-4 and goes on to face France’s Jeremy Chardy.
Japan’s fifth seed Kei Nishikori, a quarter-finalist in 2015, coasted into the last 32 with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov.
Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up, goes on to face former world number seven Fernando Verdasco of Spain.
Eighth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic had few problems with Adrian Mannarino of France, winning 6-1, 7-6 (7/0), 6-1.
In the women’s event, second seed Agnieszka Radwanska, a quarter-finalist in 2013, beat Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, the Strasbourg champion last weekend, 6-2, 6-4.
Spanish fourth seed Garbine Muguruza defeated French wildcard Myrtille Georges 6-2, 6-0 and next tackles Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer.
Sixth seed Simona Halep, the losing finalist to Maria Sharapova in 2014, came back from 4-1 down in the first set to beat Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 7-6 (7/5), 6-2.
Halep, 24, will next face Japan’s Naomi Osaka, the world 101 who has reached the third round at a major for the second successive time having also enjoyed a run to the last 32 in Australia.
Osaka, 18, knocked out 34-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-3, 6-3 which would have been a relief to Halep who lost to the world number 52 Croatian at the French Open last year and US Open in 2014.