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Andy Murray admits he needs to step it up after latest scare

By Paul Newman

Say what you like about Andy Murray but you can never take your eyes off the man.

The 29-year-old Scot played one of the most topsy-turvy contests of his career when he recovered from a mid-match slump to beat Mathias Bourgue 6-2 2-6 4-6 6-2 6-3 in the second round of the French Open. The win came just 24 hours after Murray had come back from two sets down to beat Radek Stepanek in the first round.

Bourgue, a 22-year-old Frenchman playing in his first Grand Slam and who had never faced a top-50 player, played the match of his life, winning eight games in a row as he took the second and third sets with thrilling tennis, though he also capitalised on some listless play by Murray.

Murray admitted: "I lost my way for quite a while. I showed a lot of heart the last few days in tough, tough matches and in a tough atmosphere. Maybe I wasn't feeling or playing my best, but I found a way to win."

If Murray goes on to win the title he would be the first to do so after playing five-set matches in the first two rounds since Gaston Gaudio in 2004.

Having played for three days in a row - his victory over Stepanek was spread over Monday and Tuesday because of the weather - he will have a day of rest before his third-round meeting with Ivo Karlovic tomorrow.

"It's been a tough few days and I'm going to have to recover extremely well," Murray said. "If I'm to go far I can't play too many matches like this."

There has been much talk in recent days about Murray's on-court behaviour and in particular his shouting and ranting in the general direction of his entourage. For the best part of two sets Murray was all but silent, which seemed to prove the point he had made that he plays his best tennis when he is expressing his emotions on court.

Asked later if he thought his subdued body language might have something to do with his first-round efforts, Murray said: "It was a pretty stressful couple of days. Coming back the next day and playing is not easy and the fifth set I played against Radek was tense.

But I didn't start this match that way. Normally you would think that you would start a little bit flatter. But there was a period there where I was a little bit flat.

"I don't know if that's because I was missing balls. I couldn't get myself into rallies, there wasn't much to get fired up about."

Everything seemed straightforward for Murray when he took the first set. Bourgue double-faulted on break point to give Murray a 2-0 lead at the start of the second but remarkably won the next eight games in a row. With Murray suddenly looking flat and playing cautiously, the Frenchman took advantage.

From 2-2 and 30-30 Bourgue won 16 points in a row to take the second set and go 0-30 up on Murray's serve at the start of the third. The Scot momentarily stopped the rot with an ace, but at the end of the game he hit two double faults to give Bourgue his fourth successive break of serve.

With Bourgue leading 2-0, Murray finally won another game. When the Frenchman served at 5-4 he hit two superb drop shots in going 40-0 up and then converted the second of his set points with a backhand winner down the line.

Murray, however, came out fighting at the start of the fourth set and in the fifth set made his move in the fourth game, eventually taking it 6-3.

Kyle Edmund exited after a 6-4 6-4 6-4 defeat to John Isner. The Briton had three break points - all in the sixth game of the second set - but could not convert any of them.

Belfast Telegraph


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