French Open 2014: Andy Murray survives epic fifth set to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber
Last Updated: 01/06/14 7:22pm
Andy Murray progressed to the last 16 of the French Open after battling to a 3-6 6-3 6-3 4-6 12-10 victory against Philipp Kohlschreiber.
The Wimbledon champion was scheduled to finish the third round contest on Saturday but had to come back a day later when bad light forced the players off at 7-7 in the fifth set.
When play resumed on Court Suzanne Lenglen they played a further 40 minutes of tense tennis before Murray finally clinched the victory to set up a clash with Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, who defeated French hope Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-2 6-3 in another delayed clash.
Considering the circumstances today I thought we both played some good points because both of us probably came out pretty nervous
After he wrapped up the win, Murray admitted in his on-court interview that he found it hard to come back with the match so finely poised.
“Last night was really tough for me,” the British No 1 said.
“I did a lot of running, I was up a break in every set and when we went in at 7-7 in the fifth it was tough, Philipp was playing some great tennis at the end of the fourth set.
“Considering the circumstances today I thought we both played some good points because both of us probably came out pretty nervous.”
He added: “I didn't sleep much - I woke up quite a few times and I was ready to play at four or five in the morning. I just tried to do my usual preparations but it's not easy coming back at 7-7 in the fifth set.”
I didn't sleep much - I woke up quite a few times and I was ready to play at four or five in the morning.
The immediate pressure was on Murray as the man serving first, but that situation also meant any break points the British player earned would also be match points.
Murray had never been past 6-6 in a non-tie-break set before and had seemed be troubled by his left hamstring on Saturday, calling the trainer to have both thighs massaged at one point.
He seemed to be moving fine on the resumption, though, and overcame the first hurdle by holding serve relatively comfortably.
The first real chance for either player came when Kohlschreiber managed to save a match point in the 18th game with a solid smash before going on to hold serve.
Kohlschreiber then earned a break point 19th game, but Murray found three first serves when he needed them to get out of trouble.
That was not the norm, though, and he would have been in major trouble serving at 10-10 had a forehand at 15-30 not dropped the right side of the net after hitting the cord.
Murray held serve in the 21st game of the set and the stalemate was finally broken in the next when he earned two more match points and took the first with a backhand return winner, ending the contest after 3 hours 27 minutes.