Murray survives another marathon

Updated: 

Andy Murray survived yet another major scare to overcome world number 164 Mathias Bourgue at the French Open on Wednesday.

The two-time grand slam winner appeared to feel the effects of being on court for the third day in succession following his epic first-round win over Radek Stepanek, as he battled to an inconsistent 6-2 2-6 4-6 6-2 6-3 victory against an underdog in inspired form.

Having been a set and a break up, the world number two fell apart for a period, coming close to suffering one of the biggest shocks of his career.

But he recovered late in the contest as fatigue began to take its toll on Bourgue, and Murray's hopes of a maiden title at Roland Garros remain alive. He will now face Ivo Karlovic in the third round.

Murray initially underlined his favouritism as the Briton's renowned defensive skills earned a break-point opening in game four, with a misjudged slice from Bourgue costing him dear in a set that was settled by a further break in the final game.

Bourgue's early woes were compounded when a ball fell from his pocket mid-rally and his frustration grew when a double fault handed Murray a 2-0 lead in the second set.

But the Frenchman was a different proposition thereafter, storming back to win the second set as he found the lines with remarkable frequency, while Murray looked anguished as his forehand repeatedly failed. 

Remarkably, the trend continued at the start of the third as Murray twice double faulted to be broken again. Murray finally got back on the board in game three as Bourgue miscued twice to offer a helping hand to the beleaguered Briton, who was soon on the back foot again.

Bourgue - already enjoying the better of the baseline exchanges - started to display his class at the net, too, and served out in style to take the third set.

Murray needed more than eight minutes to hold his opening service game at the start of the fourth, audibly remonstrating with himself between points, but then grasped a lifeline as Bourgue fired a forehand wide to trail 3-1.

It proved a turning point in the match, the former Wimbledon and US Open champion finally finding his range to force Bourgue into a series of errors, a wide return from the Frenchman making it 5-2 in Murray's favour.

And despite being cheered on vociferously by the home crowd, Bourgue was unable to prevent Murray levelling proceedings at two sets apiece, as the unheralded challenger committed a double fault on set point.

A determined start from Murray in the fifth looked set to spell the end for Bourgue's worthy resistance, the second seed breaking twice on the way to a 5-1 lead.

There was time for one last push from the home favourite, who broke back and then held to get to 5-3, still displaying nerve and technique to belie his lowly standing. 

Murray's experience and superior athleticism proved decisive, though, the Davis Cup winner wrapping it up with his first match point to breathe another huge sigh of relief.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Murray [2] bt Bourgue 6-2 2-6 4-6 6-2 6-3

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Murray - 46

Bourgue - 55

 

ACES

Murray - 3

Bourgue - 3

 

BREAK POINTS WON

Murray - 7/16

Bourgue - 5/14

 

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

Murray - 58

Bourgue - 70

 

PERCENTAGE POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Murray - 56/27

Bourgue - 62/20

 

TOTAL POINTS

Murray - 137

Bourgue - 138