Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray reached the French Open third round on Thursday, setting up intriguing clashes with Australian youngsters Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios.
Top seed Djokovic survived an injury scare before coasting to a 6-1 6-4 6-4 win over Gilles Muller of Luxemburg.
Djokovic will face 19-year-old Kokkinakis, who saved three match points to beat fellow Australian Bernard Tomic 3-6 3-6 6-3 6-4 8-6.
Djokovic’s win over 33-year-old Muller was his 24th consecutive victory this year as he took another step towards a first ever Roland Garros title and completing a career grand slam.
But he needed a medical timeout leading 5-4 in the second set for treatment on what appeared to be a right groin strain.
It didn’t affect him too much as he quickly wrapped up the second set with a service game to love.
He eventually wrapped up the tie on Court Suzanne Lenglen after just an hour and 45 minutes, hitting an impressive 35 winners.
“The groin is nothing major. It wasn’t pleasant as the conditions changed. The court was slippy and I jammed the hip a little bit,” said the Serb.
Kokkinakis, making his Roland Garros debut on a wildcard, came back from 2-5 down in the decider to defeat his 27th-seeded compatriot Tomic.
He fired 19 aces and 71 winners despite taking a medical timeout after a nasty fall.
Murray, the third seed, went into the last 32 with a 6-2 4-6 6-4 6-1 win over Joao Sousa of Portugal.
The Scot took his record to 12-0 on clay this season and he will meet 20-year-old Kyrgios, who enjoyed a walkover into the third round when scheduled opponent Kyle Edmund of Britain withdrew with a stomach injury.
“I realised towards the end of the second set he raised his level and I had to tell myself to weather the storm and his level would drop,” said Murray.
Defending champion and sixth seed Rafael Nadal, chasing a 10th Paris title, enjoyed a 6-4 6-3 6-1 breeze past Spanish compatriot Nicolas Almagro.
Nadal will next face Andrey Kuznetsov after the Russian defeated Austria’s Jurgen Melzer 6-1 5-7 7-6 (7-0) 7-5.
“I am very happy. I played a great match and was very solid,” said Nadal, who has now defeated Almagro 13 times out of 14.
The 28-year-old Nadal now has 68 wins at the tournament and just one loss.
Croatia’s Borna Coric also struck a blow for the next generation when the 18-year-old became the youngest player to make the third round since Marat Safin in 1998.
Coric, the world No.46 who beat Nadal in Basel last year and Murray in Dubai this year, saw off 33-year-old Spaniard Tommy Robredo, a four-time quarter-finalist 7-5 3-6, 6-2 4-6 6-4.
US Open champion Marin Cilic, the ninth seed, reached the third round for the fourth successive year with a 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 6-1 win over Italian qualifier Andrea Arnaboldi.
Cilic will face Argentine 23rd seed Leonardo Mayer, who beat Jerzy Janowicz of Poland 6-4 6-4 6-7 (1-7) 6-1.
Two other seeds to fall on Thursday were American No.16 John Isner, who lost 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-3 to France’s Jeremy Chardy and 31st seeded Viktor Troicki, defeated 6-2 6-4 6-3 by Italy’s Simone Bolelli.