World No 2 survives a second successive five-set rollercoaster to scrape through to third round with victory over little-known Mathias Bourgue
Paris: Second seed Andy Murray survived his second successive five-set French Open battle to reach the third round yesterday, avoiding what would have been his worst Grand Slam loss in eight years.
World No 2 Andy Murray returns to Mathias Bourgue during the French Open second round match yesterday. Murray won 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Pic/AFP
Murray, three times a semi-finalist, wore down France's world number 164 Mathias Bourgue, who had never won a tour-level match before this week, 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 and goes on to face 37-year-old Ivo Karlovic for a place in the last 16.
After coming back from two sets to love down to beat Radek Stepanek, also 37, in the first round in a tie played over two days, the British star had looked down and out once again yesterday.
After pocketing the third set, 22-year-old Bourgue, reduced to tears by the end, had break points for a 1-0 lead in the fourth. But once they were squandered, the Frenchman's challenge quickly wilted as the physically stronger Murray raced away with 12 of the last 15 games.
French wildcard Mathias Bourgue serves to Andy Murray during their second round match at the Roland Garros. Pic/AFP
"He was excellent today. He dictated the points and made me run. He's going to have a fantastic future," said Murray after escaping what would have been his worst loss at the majors since first round exit at 2008 Australian Open.
'Just kept fighting'
"At the end of the third set, I just thought 'what happened?'. I was 6-2, 2-0 ahead. He was then unbelievable and I found it hard just to win points. "But I have played these matches many times. I just tried to fight through."
As an indication of his struggles, yesterday was the first time since the US Open in 2005 that Murray had played two successive five-set matches at the Slams.
There were few signs of imminent danger for Murray when he broke Bourgue twice to grab the opening set, and the Scot then forged 2-0 ahead in the second. But few could have
predicted what lay ahead, as Bourgue, who had never previously even faced a player ranked inside the top 50, seized the next six games — winning at one stage 16 straight points — to leave Murray bewildered.