Murray labours to Lopez win
British number one struggles to four-set win
Last Updated: September 2, 2012 7:30pm
Andy Murray made it through to the fourth round of the US Open after surviving a testing contest in four sets against Feliciano Lopez.
The Olympic gold medallist triumphed 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (7/4) over the Spanish 30th seed in three hours and 53 minutes.
Murray had won on each of the other six previous occasions in which they had met, and he looked on course to making it seven straight wins after taking the first set in just under an hour in sweltering heat in New York.
The No 30 seed from Madrid actually won more points (162-154) than the Wimbledon finalist who was forced to dig deep to overcome an opponent who had only won one set in their previous meetings.
Murray dominated the opening set tiebreaker and when Lopez hit a forehand long, the Scot made sure when he took his chance to win it 7-5.
The British number one stepped things up with an immediate break at the start of the second.
But it was still a struggle, and even more so when Murray threw in his poorest game of the match to be broken to love and pegged back to 3-3.
It went to another tie-break and the Dunblane-born player recovered from 1-4 and 3-5 down winning four points in a row to win it 7-5, as Lopez framed an attempted forehand.
Murray had a 4-2 lead in the third set, but once again he dropped his serve straightaway, a habit that has cost the Scot in previous matches and Lopez pounced, taking it 6-4 much to the delight of a pumped up Louis Armstrong Stadium. That included a run of 12 out of 13 points for Lopez.
Murray was looking worryingly spent physically, barely running for some shots, but the Scotsman managed to take the set to a third tie-break of the match just as it looked to be heading into a fifth set.
The 25-year-old then saved a brace of break points in the fourth set - including one at 5-5 - and eventually sealed a tense win with a run of four straight points from 3-4 behind in the closing tie-break.
He made the decisive move with a brilliant backhand pass to lead 6-4, and took his first chance when Lopez netted an attempted drop shot to win 7-4.
The third seed, who fired down 16 of the contest's 18 aces, will next face 15th-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic, as he attempts to win his first major championship.