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Andy Murray beats Marcos Baghdatis at French Open

French Open:
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris. Coverage: Live video streamed on BBC Sport website (UK only) and BBC red button; commentary on BBC 5 live sports extra; also live on Eurosport; live text commentary on BBC Sport website Details of BBC coverage

Andy Murray

Highlights - Murray wins despite blip

By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Roland Garros

Andy Murray recovered from a dreadful third set to beat 25th seed Marcos Baghdatis on Court Suzanne Lenglen and secure a place in the last 16 at the French Open.

The 23-year-old Briton returned to the scene of his epic four-hour first-round win over Richard Gasquet and this time came through 6-2 6-3 0-6 6-2 in two hours 33 minutes.

Murray will meet Tomas Berdych in the fourth round on Sunday after the Czech Republic 15th seed enjoyed a straight-sets win over American John Isner, ranked 17.

After requiring a fairly tortuous rain-hit two days before seeing off Juan Ignacio Chela on Thursday evening, Murray was back on court 20 hours later to face Baghdatis.

In two previous meetings with the Cypriot he had failed to win a set, but the last of those encounters came three years ago and Murray has since become a fixture in the world's top four, while Baghdatis slipped out of the top 150 before making his way back up to 30 in the world.

606: DEBATE
Tiger Tim

Baghdatis put that slide down to "injuries and mind problems", and Murray seemed sure to test both his mental and physical capabilities as the Scot has shown already this week that he has formidable staying power.

It was Baghdatis who made the better start when play began in beautiful sunshine on a packed Lenglen arena, the Cypriot forcing Murray to fend off an early break point as the Scot needed eight minutes apiece for his first two service games.

That counted for nothing, though, as Baghdatis's from fell away dramatically and four successive errors handed Murray a break at 3-2.

Murray's retrieving skills began to take their toll and prompted a run of desperately inconsistent play from Baghdatis, allowing the Scot to wrap up the first set in spectacular style with a sliding volley and two rasping forehands.

The opening game of the second set lasted 12 minutes before Murray finally won it on his fifth break point, only to hand the break straight back within moments in a woeful game.

However, Baghdatis remained under heavy pressure in every service game, saving two more break points in game three before Murray converted his 10th of the second set for a 3-2 lead.

When Murray broke for the fifth time in the match on his way to a two-set lead it seemed a comfortable passage into round four was on the cards.

What followed was an alarming 25 minutes for fans of the British number one as the winners flowed from Baghdatis, Murray's first serve disintegrated and he lost four successive service games.

Suddenly, Baghdatis was right back in the match with a love-set and a break at the start of the fourth after a Murray double-fault.

It was panic stations for the Briton and he responded by reverting to the scrambling skills that are the bedrock of his game, forcing the errors from Baghdatis to break back for 1-1 when the Cypriot failed to make a smash.

Once I got back in it at the beginning of the fourth set, I started hitting the ball a lot better

Andy Murray

The intensity was back and we saw the very best of Murray in game six as he hooked a magnificent backhand from almost behind him past the stranded Baghdatis at the net, and then forced the Cypriot to net with a dipping backhand at his feet.

That gave Murray the crucial breakthrough to lead 4-2 and a clever lob-volley saw him consolidate the break.

Baghdatis had nothing left to offer and Murray broke serve once again with a deft drop shot on match point to move within one win of matching last year's run to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.

Asked about the third set, Murray admitted: "I just got off to a bad start, got broken a couple of times and then it's not like you're not trying, it's just that being a double-break down but a couple of sets up you want to make sure you're fresh right until the end of the match.

"I conserved some energy, went for more than normal and made a few more mistakes at the end of the set. Once I got back in it at the beginning of the fourth set, once I got the break back, I started hitting the ball a lot better.

Murray reveals passion for clay

"But he's a difficult guy to play against because he's a great shot-maker and very unpredictable, so you need to be focused all the time and I wasn't in the third set."

And after playing for three days in a row the Scot insisted he was feeling fit, although looking forward to a day off on Saturday.

"It's tough sometimes, it happens in Slams and you just need to deal with it, but I'll be fine for the next match."

Baghdatis said: "For me it was simple - I didn't serve very well. When that happens against a great player it's tough to win a match.

"It's difficult to outplay him. When you go to the net you know that he's going to return the ball - you don't know where. He's got excellent passing shots, he can do lobs as well. I think he can play really well on clay."



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see also
French Open day six as it happened
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French Open day six photos
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Nadal charges on at French Open
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Kuznetsova edged out by Kirilenko
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Murray eases past Chela in Paris
27 May 10 |  Tennis
Murray outlasts Gasquet in opener
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Grand slam men's singles latest
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Grand slam women's singles latest
21 May 10 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis


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