BNP Paribas Open: Andy Murray was made to work for victory by Jiri Vesely
Andy Murray was made to toil by world No 77 Jiri Vesely before moving into the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open.
Last Updated: 11/03/14 8:53am
The world No 6 required two hours and 47 minutes to overcome the 20-year-old 6-7 6-4 6-4 in the Masters Series event.
Murray's serve was broken six times in all and while he made 47 unforced errors he won the big points when it mattered to progress.
A series of nervy errors helped Murray race into a 3-0, breaking serve twice, but he let Vesely into the match with a poor service game and from then on it became decidedly uncomfortable.
The Briton scrapped his way to 5-3 but was then broken serving for the set. A double fault gave Vesely the chance and, although umpire Mohamed Lahyani called the Czech's forehand out, HawkEye showed it was on the line and he was awarded the game.
Vesely appeared to lean over the net to play a shot at 2-1 in the tie-break but Lahyani did not agree and Murray did not look like clawing back the deficit.
It was a shocking set to lose for the fifth seed, and he compounded it by playing another terrible game to be broken at the start of the second.
Vesely let his opponent back in with a poor game to make it 3-3, but no sooner had he got back on serve than Murray dropped his own again.
The Scot then had a visit from the trainer to have strapping removed from his foot, which may have hinted at an explanation for his troubles.
The main hope for Murray was Vesely's inexperience and his nerves showed with a succession of missed smashes, helping the Wimbledon champion level again at 4-4.
When the Czech finally connected cleanly with an overhead in the next game, he raised his arms in celebration and earned a huge cheer from the crowd.
But Vesely simply could not hold his serve and when he pushed a lob long Murray had a third successive break and the set.
Having come from a set down against Lukas Rosol in his first match, Murray won the third quite easily, but his struggles continued here as he came out on the wrong end of three straight breaks to start the third set.
Vesely appeared to be handling the pressure of leading such an illustrious name better this time but faltered at 4-3, a wayward volley and double fault giving Murray the break back.
"The quality of tennis was not great, both of us struggled with leads in the match - I was up two breaks in the first set and he was a break up at various times in the next two but couldn't quite close it out," Murray told Sky Sports.
"It was a pretty ugly match to be involved in to be honest, there was no rhythm and neither of us played well at the same time.
"Thankfully I managed to dig it out in the end. He's a tricky player and I'd never played against him before. He understands the angles well and serves big, so it's tough.
"The ball flies here, it can be tough to control the ball at times. He wasn't hitting huge shots from the back but I wasn't able to make the big shots to push him back.
"He's 6ft 6in and a lefty and is obviously going to get better. His best form has come on clay and it'll be interesting to see how he gets on on clay this year."
Vesely was starting to cramp and Murray piled the pressure on with the Czech serving to stay in it, finally taking his third match point.
Four-time champion Roger Federer was also made to work hard before edging past Russian Dmitri Tursunov in two tie-breaks.