Fireworks in store as Murray and Del Potro shape up for third round thriller

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We highlighted earlier this week what Andy Murray required in order to be in best shape for an expectant third round clash with Juan Martin del Potro.

Well it couldn’t have gone much worse for the world number one.

While Murray was pushed hard in four sets by Martin Klizan, Del Potro escaped a scare when his second round opponent Nicolas Almagro withdrew injured early in the third set.

The Spaniard had just taken the second set 6-3 and Argentine Del Potro was heading for a long afternoon’s tennis.

There were emotional scenes as Almagro withdrew – and great sportsmanship from Del Potro – but the rub is this, he walked into round three while Murray was made to work.

So all in all the duo’s preparation for this clash couldn’t have been more differing.

Murray leads the head-to-head record 6-3, and goes into this clash as 4/11 favourite.

In truth, anyone who backs that will be in for a very nervous afternoon when they meet in Paris.

The Scot has been lacking in form, and is also battling illness this week.

Del Potro is certainly worth considering at 9/4, but the solid angle is over 3.5 sets at 4/7.

The pair met twice last year, at the Olympics and the Davis Cup, and both meetings went more than three sets.

Similarly, unless Murray can find a way to step it up a notch here, a five-set thriller looks great value at 5/2 – as happened when Del Potro prevailed in the Davis Cup.

And a deeper look into their previous clashes also brings us to over 9.5 games in the first set.

Of the pair’s nine meetings, seven of their opening-set encounters have required 10 games or more.

Both players will be out to gain the upper hand early on. The first set is primed to go the distance and 4/6 says we see over 9.5 games.

There’s an extra slice of incentive on the line here too, by the way.

Expectant fourth-round opponent Tomas Berdych suffered a surprise loss to Russian 21-year-old Karen Khachanov.

It means either he or American John Isner will meet Murray or Del Potro in round four, and suddenly the latter duo’s route to the quarter-finals looks a touch easier.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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