Andy Murray came through a tough encounter against Marcos Baghdatis today, sealing a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory after nearly two hours on court to book his place in the quarter-finals of the London Olympic tennis event.
The third seed showed his steel, having to come from a set down against Baghdatis - another player who seems to find some of his best stuff against the Brit. Murray started slowly and seemed to be struggling to adapt to the windy conditions, but improved vastly as the match went on. After sealing victory in the 10th game of the deciding set he let out a roar of delight - no doubt relieved to have surpassed the tough test imposed by Baghdatis.
The Cypriot has proved a tricky customer in the past for Britain’s number one and so it proved once again, racing out of the blocks to break Murray in the very first game after a couple of tame errors from the Scot. Murray was able to break back just a couple of games later but was looking unsettled, and was struggling to find his first serve which had been such a big weapon in the previous two matches. Read more (494 words)
Both players seemed to be having problems trying to adapt to the conditions but it was the Cypriot who managed to regain the advantage. He broke Murray to love in the seventh game after some loose errors from the Brit before fending off a break point on his own serve.
Murray was still making too many silly errors and found himself facing set-points in the next game. However he managed to battle his way out of trouble with a couple of big forehands to force Baghdatis to serve for it. But the six-foot Cypriot showed his nerve, sealing the first set with a big serve out wide.
It was vital that the third seed got off to a better start in the second set, and a love hold was exactly what the doctor ordered. Baghdatis seemed to be feeling the pressure of the Wimbledon crowd and in the fourth game Murray managed to break through. The Scot took advantage of two double faults to break after the world number 45 missed a simple volley at the net.
It looked like Britain’s number one was going to hand the advantage straight back, after another error gave Baghdatis 0-30. But Murray showed his steel, coming back to hold serve with an ace to put himself in a dominant position in the second set. And in the next game he broke again, taking advantage of yet another double fault to seal the double break with a couple of stunning returns.
Murray was finding his form now and levelled the match with some big serving to take it to a decider. And the momentum was all with the Brit, breaking to love right at the start of the third and bringing the crowd to their feet with a brilliant diving volley.
The world number four was looking very assured by now and racing through his service games, with the serve fully firing. Baghdatis on the other hand was often coming under pressure behind the serve, largely down to Murray’s forehand which was firing on all cylinders. The Cypriot fended off a break point at 1-3 and another two at 2-4 with some big serving, but he was really hanging on in there as Murray looked for the insurance of a double break.
The Briton was not fazed however, and indeed hit what was arguably the point of the match with a magnificent cross-court pass after Baghdatis’ slice return caught the line. And moments later Murray was serving it out. The Cypriot caused a few nerves around the stadium after edging 15-30 up but a couple of errors handed Murray match-point, and he sealed the win with a huge forehand down the line.
Murray will now take on the 11th seed Nicolas Almagro in the quarter-finals. The Spaniard saw off Steve Darcis - conqueror of world number seven Tomas Berdych in round one. These two haven’t met since 2010, where Murray was victorious in Indian Wells after Almagro retired.