Andy Murray is through to the second week of Wimbledon after an enthralling 7-5 3-6 7-5 6-1 victory over Marcos Baghdatis.
The British number one looked down and out during the third set, but he showed reserves of grit and determination to recover, and serve out for victory before the encroaching 11PM deadline.
The windy conditions around Centre Court made for a rather tentative start to the match. Baghdatis was the player striking the ball with more purpose and verve, as the first set grew older. Murray was opting for slice and conservative depth, especially on his renowned double handed backhand. Remarkably, Murray's defensive tennis did just enough, and the Scot carved out a solitary break to clinch the opening set, 7-5.
Encouraged by taking the first set, the fourth seed edged ahead with a break in the second, but Murray seemed to relinquish control of the match at this crucial juncture. Baghdatis fought back, and started to dictate proceedings with some booming winners on both wings. Murray regressed into his shell and handed all of the momentum back to the Cypriot, who duly obliged by levelling the match. After the last two nights of drama, it was obvious that another night of theatre was unfolding under the lights.Read more (249 words)
The fabled roof closed, and after a brief interlude, the players strolled back out to resume battle. Despite a bright start, it was Murray who conceded serve first, immediately after squandering break point opportunities. Profligacy on break points was a definite concern for the British number one, and something he will need to rectify in future matches.
A break down in the third set, Murray looked stressed, uncomfortable and physically unwell. However, to his credit, he dug deep, tightened up his game, and managed to claw his way back into the set. The partisan crowd, inspired by the British number one and his fightback, grew more vociferous, and Baghdatis crumbled under the relentless pressure. Huge relief.
It was at this moment that the 11PM curfew became apparent. Due to health and safety reasons, local authorities do not permit play at Wimbledon past 11:00PM. The task for Murray was clear ; approach the fourth set with all guns blazing, or be patient and wait for a resumption on Monday. The Scot opted for the former. Reinvigorated by the deadline and the match being back in his grasp, he powered through the tiring Baghdatis to break twice, and seal a famous victory. Murray's relief at finishing the match was extremely palpable.
Marin Cilic will be Murray's opponent in round four. The Croat endured a five hour marathon against Sam Querrey earlier today, but his big serving and powerful game could be a real threat if he is physically capable of delivering.