Saturday 20 January 2018

Andy Murray recovers from injury scare to march on in Wimbledon

Andy Murray celebrates
Andy Murray celebrates

Andy Murray is the last Briton standing in the singles at Wimbledon after he overcame a third-set blip to beat Italy's Andreas Seppi and book his place in the fourth round.

Murray looked on course for a comfortable victory after cruising to a two-set lead but two medical time-outs, one for each player, prompted two remarkable shifts in momentum as the Scot eventually came through 6-2 6-2 1-6 6-1.

Seppi won six games in a row in the third set after taking treatment on his shin but Murray, visibly perturbed, returned the favour at the start of the fourth, calling for attention to his shoulder and winning every game thereafter.

The British number one said the shoulder felt "fine" after the match but there was undoubtedly a psychological element to the stoppages, which so clearly dictated the direction of the match.

"My shoulder is fine," Murray told the BBC.

"Towards the end of the second set it was tightening up next to my shoulder blade, and when he took the injury time-out it cooled down a bit, so the trainer came out and manipulated my back with a few cracks.

"It wasn't that pleasant but it helped."

Ivo Karlovic now awaits in the fourth round and Murray will be confident against the big-serving Croatian, who has yet to beat the number three seed in five attempts and lost in four when the pair met in the Wimbledon second round three years ago.

"It will be a very different match, most of the points were played from the back of the court today but Ivo comes into the net a lot," Murray said.

"He's served very well in this tournament so my returns will have to be on if I want to get through that one."

Murray entered Centre Court just as compatriot James Ward was nearing the end of his five-set defeat to Canada's Vasek Pospisil on Court One, but if his spirits needed lifting he had some of the country's finest sporting stars in attendance, including Chris Robshaw, Justin Rose and James Anderson.

There was also Novak Djokovic's coach Boris Becker watching on and the German would have been impressed with Murray's start as the Briton raced out of the blocks, taking a two-set lead without hardly breaking a sweat.

Two missed break points at the end of the second at least hinted at a Seppi revival and there was a sudden swing in momentum at the start of the third, which coincided with the Italian calling a medical time-out.

Taking treatment for a shin injury at 2-1, Seppi emerged unhindered and completely unrecognisable as a Murray second serve flew out and gave away the break.

Seppi held serve with ease and Murray, shaking his head in frustration at the change of ends, failed to recover his focus as his opponent found a different level to clinch a second break and then the third set.

The remarkable turnaround carried over into the fourth and a Seppi break in the opening game, the sixth in a row he had won, was enough to make Murray call a time-out of his own - this time on a shoulder problem.

Just as they had for Seppi, the trainer's magic hands had the desired effect as a rejuvenated Murray claimed an instant break back before holding serve to love.

Jogging into the changeover, Murray was fired up and he claimed two more breaks before serving out with an ace to seal victory in two hours and eight minutes.

Press Association

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