Inspired Murray takes 2-1 set lead over No5 seed Tsitsipas before play suspended

By Paul Lagan at Wimbledon

Centre Court

Murray v Tsitsipas  6-7, 7-6, 6-4 (play suspended)

A fit Andy Murray can still be a potent force on grass and it proved as he took a 2-1 set lead over No 5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a pulsating Centre Court tonight.

Play was suspended for the night at 10.40pm as the 11pm curfew neared.

The umpire and referee suggested it was a good place to stop and Murray willingly agreed because on set point in the third set, he crumbled to the ground with a apparent groin injury.

He got back up and managed to see out the game and the set but will have treatment overnight.

Two hard fought won services games greeted the near capacity Centre Court and signalled perhaps that this second round match could go to the wire.

Murray of the two struggled overall with his serve while the Greek looked imperious with his first serve and deep backhand returns.

It was always going to be the case of who blinked or gave away a critical unforced error first.but none was in evidence, not a real chance of a break.

Murray served at 4-5 to save the first set.

But a chunk in Murray’s armour was being exposed at Tsitsipas went love 30 up.

And long shot brought the game back to 15 30. But a hit into the net, followed by an ace and another long shot secured Murray the game that took it to 5, 5.

 A straightforward game but Tsitsipas left Murray needing to win his game to take the set to a ti-break.

Murray survived a break point when Hawkeye had overruled his challenge, and a lovely piece of spin on his serve foxed Tsitsipas to give him advantage.

He then won the next point as the Greek hit his backhand wide.

And so to a tie-break.

There were no mini-breaks in the first three point leaving it 1-2 to Murray.

Tsitsipas held his two serves easily, but Murray lost it to yet another forehand winner down the line which has been Murray’s Achilles heel.

Tsitsipas then went into a 6-3 lead, leaving Murray facing three set points against him.

He only needed one as Murray was sent all over the court before floating an easy hit into the net.

Again, as in the first set, opening serves were won but Murray always seemed to be the one struggling the most to hold.

Murray did get close to breaking Tsitsipas- taking him to deuce, but he fought back and won the game.

With Murray serving first he had the upper hand in the set, provided he kept his nerve and serve.

But the around forehand by Tsitsipas proved yet again to be the difference and when at 3-3 Murray had one e again to expend even more energy to retrieve a seemingly doomed situation.

In this instance, he did and took a 4-3 lead.

And so it continued, who would falter or would another tie-breaker decide the set?

At 4-5 Tsitsipas served to save the set.

A glimmer of hope for Murray at 30 all, he screamed at the crowd for,encouragement, but Tsitsipas kept his cool and saw out the game.

Murray did the same – it was coming down to could Murray finally break the Greek. As in the previous service game, Murray came close to getting it, but each time Tsitsipas showed his class and the tie-breaker it became.

Murray went 1-0 up, an audacious drop shot made it 1-1, Murray nabbed a mini-break to make it 2-1, he held his first serve to go 3-1 up, then 4-1. Tsitsipas’ a forehand made it 2-4, a great return by Murray forced. Second mini-break to Murray on his serve t 5-2.

Soon it was 6-2 and as the cliche goes, the crowd went wild.

He had four set points. He needed only one.

With only one mini break lost in the first set and two in the second, ie no games were broken as such, it was a a major surprise that Tsitsipas lost his serve to love in the opening game of the third set.

Murray held his and took a 2-0, as the time reached 10pm.

With an expected curfew at 11pm, the likelihood of the match finishing tonight looked unlikely with each passing minute.

Twice Tsitsipas held break point in the enthralling encounter, and twice Murray rallied – literally to retrieve then point.

A lovely ace gave him advantage, which he followed up, with a powerful serve which the Greek star hit wide to go 3-1 up.

Then it was a love game to 3-2 to Murray.

Surprisingly a 88mph second serve ace fooled Tsitsipas to win Murray his game to take the set to 4-2.

Three aces signalled a confident game win by Murray leaving Tsitsipas needing to hold his wave to stay in the third set.

He did so. The minutes ticked down to  11pm, could they finish in 28 minutes?

First, Murray had to win his game to take the third set.

He raced to 40 love before slicing a backhand wide. Murray then collapsed to the ground, seeming with a groin strain while losing the point.

Thankfully, he managed to get back into the service line and produce a brilliant serve which Tsitsipas sailed over the line to give the Scotsman the game and the set 6-4.

The end of play came straight away at 10,40pm with initial boos from the disappointed crowd, who nevertheless clapped off both players but Murray more.

Pictured top,  Murray hits the grass before getting up and winning the third set. Picture: Paul Lagan 

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