Murray takes long road at French Open, others enjoy quick march
Defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka, fifth seed Kei Nishikori, Agnieszka Radwanska, Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza, eased into the third round
Andy Murray survived a second close shave at the French Open on Wednesday, but his path towards what he hopes will be a maiden title in Paris is getting so circuitous he may soon find himself hacking through trees in the nearby Bois de Boulogne.
While defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka, fifth seed Kei Nishikori, Agnieszka Radwanska, Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza, eased into the third round on Wednesday, world number two Murray took the long and winding road again.
The Scot spent Monday and Tuesday figuring a way past an unorthodox Czech, 37-year-old Radek Stepanek, extricating himself from two sets down to scrape through in five.
This time it was little-known 22-year-old French wildcard Mathias Borgue, playing only his second grand slam match, who led the former US Open and Wimbledon champion astray.
Initially overwhelmed, Borgue recovered from a 6-2 2-0 deficit to take control in astonishing fashion, reeling off eight games in a row and forging into a two-sets-to-one lead.
When he pummeled a backhand winner down the line to take the third set Murray looked stunned and the partisan Court Philippe Chatrier crowd were in full cry.
Murray was rocking, but saved three break points at the start of the fourth set, one with a sublime half-volley, and gradually seized control again to prevail 6-2 2-6 4-6 6-2 6-3 in three hours 34 minutes.
“I lost my way on the court today, you know, for quite a while,” Murray, who joined the crowd in applauding Borgue, France’s 16th ranked player, told reporters.
“I was struggling to win points at one stage. I couldn’t see where his shots were going.”