Ferrer, Almagro and Murray all safely through to fourth round; Paes-Peya bow out

Spain's clay court 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 set wins.

The sixth-seeded Ferrer flattened Russia's Mikhail Youzhny 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 in just 101 minutes, while Almagro saw off the challenge of Argentina's Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.

The 30-year-old Ferrer, who has yet to make it past the quarterfinals 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 strolled to victory.

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. Murray reached the last 16 with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win.

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.

In the women's section, Francesca Schiavone made a third-round exit when she was beaten, for the second time in a month, by American left-hander Varvara Lepchenko.

Lepchenko, ranked 63rd in the world, beat the 2010 winner and 2011 runner-up 3-6, 6-3, 8-6 in a match full of long rallies in the mid-day sun on Court One, where the temperature reached 29 degrees Celsius.

Italian Schiavone, the 14th seed, lost in the first round to the Uzbekistan-born Lepchenko on Madrid's blue clay last month, and said before Saturday's game that she found playing left-handers troublesome.

After three exchanges of break in the third set, Lepchenko broke again to go 7-6 up and then saved four break points before smashing a winner on match point to finish off the victory in three hours and two minutes.

India's poor run at the French Open continued as Leander Paes and his Austrian partner Alexander Peya crashed out in the second round of the men's doubles event, after losing to Mikhail Elgin of Russia and Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin 4-6, 1-6.

The seventh seeded Indo-Austrian pair was shocked by their unseeded opponents in a battle that lasted an hour and 11 minutes.

Keywords: French Open

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