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Rafael Nadal played down concerns that a back injury will hamper his chances of winning the French Open for a record ninth time after overcoming Leonardo Mayer in straight sets.

Nadal not worried about back injury after Mayer win

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Originally published on 31/05/14

The defending champion did not have it all his own way against the unseeded Argentine but came through 6-2 7-5 6-2 to set up a fourth-round clash with Dusan Lajovic, who beat Jack Sock 6-4 7-5 6-3. Nadal said it was a “positive” performance but also revealed that he had to slow his serve down because he had a problem with his back.

“I felt it a little bit from the beginning,” he commented. “In the second match I was not serving that fast, too. I’d rather not talk about my back. You know, I’ve reached the second week, I’ll do my best, I’ll play as best as I can, I’ll put up a good fight to try and win. My back is not that important, I am the way I am, and I'm happy to have reached this level. I won a three-set match, which is important.”

Asked whether he is worried about the injury, Nadal said: “No. I had the problem in Australia. It's the real thing, but hopefully not.”

Bad light meant the matches on Court Philippe Chatrier and Court Suzanne Lenglen between Fernando Verdasco and Richard Gasquet and Andy Murray and Philipp Kohlschreiber were suspended. Verdasco led 6-3 6-2 2-2 while Murray and Kohlschreiber were tied at 7-7 in the fifth set, with the German fighting back from 3-0 down in the fourth to force a decider.

Gael Monfils advanced to the fourth round after an entertaining five-set contest against Fabio Fognini. The Frenchman recovered from losing the opening set to win the next two but then appeared to suffer from fatigue as he won just six points in the fourth. However, backed by a partisan crowd, Monfils came out firing in the decider and sealed a dramatic 5-7 6-2 6-4 0-6 6-2 victory.

“I was pretty tired after the third and I took my time,” said Monfils. “For me it was tougher, I was suffering with the long rallies. I was like starting to struggle a little bit, like not cramping, but I felt really tired. I wanted to serve first in the fifth, so the only option I had is to take 6-0. Why should I make any effort?”

The pair made a total of 137 unforced errors throughout the match and Fognini was docked a point for throwing his racquet having previously received a warning for swearing. Monfils will next face Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who held off a strong fightback from American Donald Young to win 6-2 6-4 2-6 6-7(4) 6-4.

Murray and Kohlschreiber will resume as the second match on Suzanne Lenglen on Sunday after Tomas Berdych against John Isner while Verdasco against Gasquet will be second on Chatrier.

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Rafael Nadal played down concerns that a back injury will hamper his chances of winning the French Open for a record ninth time after overcoming Leonardo Mayer in straight sets.
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