Murray Completes Stunning Comeback Against Stepanek

by John on May 24, 2016

Andy Murray RG16

Andy Murray rallied from a two-set deficit to defeat Czech veteran Radek Stepanek 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 earlier today at the French Open. The first-round thriller, carried over from last night after waning daylight forced suspension of play, marked the ninth time Murray has escaped from two sets down and the third time at Roland Garros. Stepanek, 37-years old and the oldest player in the draw, gave Murray everything he could handle and at one stage was two points from ousting the No. 2 seed. The Czech qualifier led 6-3, 6-3, 0-6, 2-4 when darkness halted action, but was wobbling badly after Murray reeled off nine games in a row at the start of the third set. However today’s resumption saw a recharged Stepanek. The 128th-ranked Czech forced two break points against Murray’s serve in the first game of the afternoon, but the Scot erased both and held for 5-2. Murray served it out at 30 to level the match. Both held through the first 10 games of the fifth set, although Murray pressed the Czech’s serve in the first and fifth games with break point opportunities. Stepanek squelched each one, but then was broken in the 11th game. Still, there was time for drama. Murray trailed 15-30 serving for the match at 6-5, and then double-faulted on his first match point. The Scot sealed the comeback when Stepanek missed an easy volley, the kind he had been making most of the day. It was over in three hours and 41 minutes. “It’s unbelievable what he’s doing,” Murray said. “He had an extremely bad injury last year and was out for eight or nine months. At 37 years old and coming out and fighting like that, playing that way, is unbelievable. I don’t expect to be doing that myself at that age! I’m just glad I managed to get through. He was serving very well and hardly missed any volleys, apart from the one on match point, which almost went over as well. I wasn’t able to dictate many of the points, I wasn’t in a great rhythm and that’s credit to him and the way he played.” Murray served 14 aces to four for Stepanek, while double-faulting just twice compared to eight times for the Czech. Stepanek bested Murray in winners, 57 to 39, but committed 74 unforced errors to 35 for the Scot. Stepanek saved four of 10 break points, Murray four of eight. “Yesterday I had a bit of momentum when we stopped, but coming out today anything could happen,” Murray said. “Both of us had chances in the fifth set and thankfully I managed to grab mine at the end when he made a couple of mistakes. I fought extremely hard today and I get the chance to play again tomorrow.” Murray plays Frenchman Mathias Bourgue in the second round.

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