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Page last updated at 00:54 GMT, Thursday, 12 November 2009

Murray survives late-night battle

Murray happy with hard-fought win

Britain's Andy Murray was pushed all the way before beating James Blake 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) in the early hours of Thursday at the Paris Masters.

Murray won a cagey first set with a fine drop-shot before a very close second set, without any breaks of serve, which Blake won on a tie-break.

There was never any sign of a break in the third either and it was no shock when it too went to a tie-break.

Murray took it 7-4 to set up a third-round clash with Radek Stepanek.

Stepanek had a much shorter and more straightforward match against Viktor Troicki, winning 6-4 6-0.

When I've played James in past he's made a few more mistakes - I thought he played really, really solid tonight, so it was tough

Andy Murray

Murray is due back on court at 1645 GMT on Thursday, and the Scot told BBC Radio 5 live: "I don't know if you can recover 100%, it's a very, very difficult thing to do.

"By the time I get back and have food, see my physio, it's 4am by the time you get to bed and any athlete will tell you it's not the easiest thing to do.

"I don't expect to be feeling great but I'll just try and fight as hard as I can and try and win."

After the drama of world number one Roger Federer losing earlier in the day, and world number two Rafael Nadal narrowly avoiding a similar fate, whatever came next could only have a sense of anti-climax.

Blake and Murray did not start playing until 2330 local time, in front of a small crowd, and right from the start it was a very tight match with hardly anything between the pair.

Murray drew first blood when he broke the American in the fourth game, only for Blake to return the compliment immediately to make it 3-2 in his favour.

But crucially the Scot managed to break Blake again in the following game and then rattled off the next three games to clinch the set with a delightful drop-shot.


The second set was break-free, but Murray seemed to have a problem with his hip.

He slipped and fell heavily at the net when trailing 6-4 in the tie-break, and Blake took advantage to win the point and level the match.

There was no let-up in the third set, with both players holding serve the whole way through, and when the tie-break came, even that was a closely-fought affair.

Murray was the first to open up any sort of gap at 5-3, but he could not hold his serve, allowing Blake another chance.

But on Murray's second match point, Blake hit the ball long, bringing to an end a gruelling two-and-a-quarter hour match.

Asked about playing in front of such a small crowd, Murray told 5 live: "It's not so much demoralising, it's just kind of difficult to keep focus because it gets quieter and quieter.

"It becomes sort of a practice match feeling, the nerves aren't there so much and the later it gets, it's tough to keep your concentration.

"I struggled a little bit with that but when I've played James in past he's made a few more mistakes - I thought he played really, really solid tonight, so it was tough."

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see also
Murray happy with hard-fought win
12 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Murray v Blake as it happened
11 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Benneteau stuns Federer in Paris
11 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Safin bows out with loss in Paris
11 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Davydenko closes on London place
10 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Safin starts final event with win
09 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Murray takes Valencia Open title
08 Nov 09 |  Tennis

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