Russians Rublev, Khachanov through to fourth round in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) - Russian Andrey Rublev strolled into the French Open last-16 with a facile 6-3 6-2 6-3 win over South African Kevin Anderson on Saturday, extending his winning run on clay to eights matches.

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He was joined by compatriot Karen Khachanov after the 15th seed ousted Chile’s Cristian Garin 6-2 3-6 6-4 6-2 to reach the round four in as many appearances at Roland Garros.

“Good to keep doing the consistency here in Paris,” said Khachanov, who faces Serbian top seed Novak Djokovic next.

“Whenever I come here I feel good, feeling that I need to work on the points, on the matches, just trying to be positive match-by-match. It feels good to be in the second week of a slam this year.”

Rublev, 22, arrived in Paris after winning the ATP title in Hamburg by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas and was too strong for Anderson, the former world number five who has been blighted by injuries in recent years.

Rublev, seeded 13th at Roland Garros, had lost his only previous meeting against the twice Grand Slam finalist at the 2015 U.S. Open but did not face a break point against the 34-year-old on Court Simonne Mathieu.

The Russian only lost four points on his first serve and broke Anderson’s serve once in the opening set and twice each in the next two to complete the victory in one hour 34 minutes.

Rublev, who also won titles in Qatar and Adelaide before the sport was shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, converted his third match point when he hit his 27th winner with a forehand service return.

In his first appearance in the fourth round in Paris, former junior world number one Rublev will play Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, who beat Thiago Monteiro of Brazil 7-5 6-1 6-3.

“Right now he’s just about to break into the top 10,” Fucsovics said of Rublev. “But it was four or five years ago when we played. I’ve got more mature. I have more experience. I’m fit now, fitter than ever.

“I’m looking forward to playing a good match against him, trying to break through finally to the quarter-finals.”

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Christian Radnedge and Ken Ferris