Massaged Murray hits back against Seppi to reach Wimbledon last 16

  • Reuters, London
  • Updated: Jul 05, 2015 12:40 IST

It was a familiar sight on Centre Court on Saturday as Andy Murray reprised his familiar role of being the last British singles player heading into Wimbledon's second week after a four-set tussle with Italy's Andreas Seppi.

For almost three sets of Murray's 6-2 6-2 1-6 6-1 victory, the third seed was utterly dominant while his opponent looked forlorn, but the momentum of the encounter swung violently following two opportune visits to the court by the trainer.

After Murray raced through the opening two sets and trailed 2-1 in the third, 25th seed Seppi called for medical assistance to work on a leg injury.

What happened next made the on-court physio look like a miracle worker as Seppi took the next five games to claim the third set and break the 2013 champion in the opening game of the fourth.

At this point John McEnroe, in his role as a commentator for the BBC and no stranger to the dark arts of gamesmanship, was questioning Seppi's motives.

Murray, he said, was "like a poker player who has been bluffed".

But Murray was then able to play his own joker and decided his own ailing body needed some work and the trainer returned to vigorously massage the Briton's right shoulder.

The effect of that intervention was equally immediate. Murray won the next six games to see out the clash, walloping down an ace on matchpoint as if to highlight just what a good job had been done on his stiffening joint.

"The shoulder is fine now," Murray said, having teed up a last-16 encounter with the huge-serving Ivo Karlovic.

"Towards the end of the second set it started to tighten up. When he took a medical timeout, it cooled down a little bit."

As if to dismiss McEnroe's hint that the players were playing mind games, he added: "When you've got a 90 kilo guy lying on top of you, it's not very pleasant."

When Murray returns on Monday, it will be in his customary role of sole singles flagbearer for Wimbledon's home fans after James Ward became his last remaining compatriot to exit following a gallant five-set struggle with Vasek Pospisil.

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