Murray scrapes past Stepanek
Originally published on 24/05/16 00:00
The world No.2 came within two points of defeat as he came from two sets to love down for the ninth time in his career to complete a 3-6 3-6 6-0 6-3 7-5 victory on Court Philippe Chatrier.
The last time Murray lost in the first round at a Grand Slam was at the 2008 Australian Open, when he fell to eventual runner-up and then world No.38 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Stepanek had taken an unlikely lead against the two-time Grand Slam champion on Monday before Murray had won the third set to love and led by a break in the fourth set when the match was suspended because of bad light.
But any expectations that Murray would make light work of the 37-year-old Czech qualifier on their return to court on Tuesday swiftly disappeared when Stepanek had two break points on Murray’s serve in the very first game.
In a tense final set, Stepanek had the crowd on their feet as he came within two points of victory, but Murray hung on before breaking Stepanek in the very next game, winning the final three games to wrap up victory after three hours and 41 minutes.
“At 37 years old to be still coming out and fighting like that is unbelievable,” Murray said. “I don’t expect to be doing that myself at that age. I’m just glad I was able to get through.”
Murray will hope to have an altogether easier time of things against French wildcard Mathias Bourgue in the second round after the 22-year-old defeated Spanish qualifier Jordi Samper-Montana 7-5 7-6(5) 7-6(6).