Braveheart Murray scraps his way into round three
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:33
Andy Murrays flawless first round display at the French Open on Sunday seemed an age ago on day four of the Paris slam as he needed all the guts and determination he could conjure up to beat Italian world No.104 Potito Starace.
Having produced some good results on clay this season, Starace was always going to give third-seeded Murray a decent work-out and so it proved, the Scot finally booking his place in the last 32 thanks to a very hard-fought 6-3, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 success.
In five-set matches the momentum always tends to shift – Murray
For those that didnt see the match, the scoreline hides the events of a dramatic third set when Murray trailed 1-5 and saved two set points before showing real heart to scrap his way to safety.
Murray started the match in fine style, utilising his superb defence to stay in the rallies and counter-attack the Italian with his super solid baseline game.
The tables dramatically turned in set two, however, as the man from Benevento stepped things up considerably by forcing Murray onto the back foot with a more aggressive gamestyle.
He used some monster forehands to race through the set to level the match and when he engineered a double break and a 5-1 lead in the third things looked decidedly bleak for Murray until the Scot turned on the magic.
At 2-5, Murray saved the first of two set points, broke back, and with great defensive work clawed his way back into the set to level at 5-5.
With each game won Murrays screams of self-encouragement became louder and louder, each one sending out a crystal clear message to his opponent that he was mounting an unstoppable comeback.
Capitalising on the Italians weakening groundstrokes allowed Murray to dominate more and more as the business end of the set approached, breaking Starace for a third successive time to seal the set 7-5 with the deftest of drop shots.
Both players seemed to recharge their batteries at the start of the fourth, and it was nip and tuck until the pressure got too much for Starace at 4-5. Murray sensed victory and broke the Italian to secure his place in the third round.
“It happens a lot in five?set matches’ Murray said. “Momentum makes a huge difference. I got broken at the beginning of the second set when, after a long game, I had a long game the first service game of that set, as well.
“Maybe if I’d managed to hold that game it could have been different. After he broke me, he started playing a lot better. I left a lot of balls in the middle of the court.
“His backhand in the first set was landing very short, and once he got ahead in the second, he started hitting a lot better.
“But the most important thing is I found a way to win, and I’m obviously very happy to be in the next round.”
Murray will next play Janko Tipsarevic on Friday for a place in the last 16. The Serb beat 28th seed Feliciano Lopez in four sets to move into the next round.