Murray survives epic Fognini clash

Fernando Verdasco beats Feliciano Lopez in first round at Barcelona Open

World No 1 Andy Murray came through a titanic battle against Italy's Fabio Fognini at Wimbledon on Friday.

With a packed Centre Court and Henman Hill watching his every move, Murray prevailed 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 after two hours and 41 minutes to secure his place in the fourth round.

A fifth set seemed inevitable before the defending Wimbledon champion produced a late rally to end it in four.

It seemed at first as if Murray was set for an early day at the office after racing through the first set in quick time courtesy of two late breaks.

But Fognini – a player more than capable of moments of brilliance and inspiration – came back strongly in the second set. He broke the Scot in the very first game, and even though Murray was able to break straight back, the Italian would find a second break before holding on to level the scores.

The momentum would swing again in the third set, which Murray won just as convincingly as he did the first courtesy of two more breaks. Fognini's challenge appeared to be faltering as he called for his trainer midway through the set.

But the Italian would find a second wind in the fourth set, spurred on by umpire penalising him for a "visible obscenity". He argued his case but was docked a point, which handed Murray the game at 2-2.

Taking full advantage of Murray's at-times wobbling serve, Fognini broke and then held serve for a 5-2 lead, as the match seemed destined for a fifth set.

Unbelievably, Fognini squandered no less than five set points – three of them on Murray's serve and two on his own – as Murray went on to claim successive breaks and bring the match to a hasty conclusion – much to the delight of the Wimbledon faithful.

Murray moves on to face unseeded Frenchman Benoit Paire in the fourth round.

"At the end of the match it was tense, I maybe saved four set points [it was five] then there was a tight game to break him at 5-5, then I served it out really well to finish," Murray told BBC Sport.

"It was a very up and down match, I did not feel it was my best tennis at times, but I managed to get through.

"It is difficult when you play a guy who has all of the shots like him, he was was taking me out of my rhythm. It was getting dark at the end and we would have had to come off for the roof had I lost that fourth set, so I was pleased to get off.

"My body felt ok. I didn't feel I moved as well as I did in my first couple of matches. But I have got a couple of days break where I can work on that. Hopefully I can get myself into a good rhythm and come out on Monday and play good tennis. I am happy to get through the first week and anything can happen."

All of Friday's men's singles results

1-Andy Murray (Britain) beat 28-Fabio Fognini (Italy) 6-2 4-6 6-1 7-5          
Kevin Anderson (South Africa) beat Ruben Bemelmans (Belgium) 7-6(3) 6-4 7-6(3) 
4-Rafa Nadal (Spain) beat 30-Karen Khachanov (Russia) 6-1 6-4 7-6(3)           
Benoit Paire (France) beat Jerzy Janowicz (Poland) 6-2 7-6(3) 6-3              
7-Marin Cilic (Croatia) beat 26-Steve Johnson (U.S.) 6-4 7-6(3) 6-4            
18-Roberto Bautista (Spain) beat 9-Kei Nishikori (Japan) 6-4 7-6(3) 3-6 6-3    
16-Gilles Muller (Luxembourg) beat Aljaz Bedene (Britain) 7-6(4) 7-5 6-4  

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