French Open: Andy Murray battles past Radek Stepanek in 5-set thriller

  • Reuters, Paris
  • Updated: May 24, 2016 18:51 IST
Britain's Andy Murray clenches his fist as he plays Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic. (AP Photo)

Andy Murray survived a nervous fifth-set decider against Czech veteran Radek Stepanek to complete a 3-6 3-6 6-0 6-3 7-5 comeback win and scrape into the French Open second round on Tuesday.

The second seed had been tormented by the 37-year-old Stepanek the previous evening, being outplayed in the opening two sets, but had repaired some of the damage before play was suspended with him leading 4-2 in the fourth set.

On the resumption Murray survived two break points in his opening service game before levelling the match but a reinvigorated and inspired Stepanek refused to go away quietly, producing some inspired shot-making.

Briton Murray was two points from defeat when serving at 4-5 but held his nerve and broke in the next game.

Murray double-faulted on his first match point but sealed victory, the ninth of his career from a two-set deficit, when Stepanek netted an attempted drop-volley two points later.

Murray sportingly applauded Stepanek off the court as the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd showed their appreciation for the efforts of the oldest man in the men’s draw.

Murray, three-times a semi-finalist at Roland Garros, next faces French wildcard Mathias Bourge.

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