By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon
- Andy Murray  def. Fabio Fognini  6-2 4-6 6-1 7-5
- Faces Benoit Paire next
LONDON, UK – Andy Murray survived a tough test by Fabio Fognini and meets yet another unpredictable opponent in Benoit Paire on Manic Monday.
Andy Murray  def. Fabio Fognini  6-2 4-6 6-1 7-5
After all the speculation and worry over Andy Murray’s fitness, he (and his hip) were given a stern test by Fabio Fognini – the unpredictable Italian who halted Murray’s Rome title defence on home soil.
This time the studded tennis shoe was on the other foot with Murray playing host to the Italian in Centre Court. His languid style seemed so laid back in the first set, he might have been playing on another court altogether, as Murray quickly surged ahead to wrap up the first set.
Yet he had not warned that he could be troublesome for no reason. Broken right at the start of the second set, Murray retaliated to level things up again, before the Italian took advantage of a loose gam by Murray to go up a break once more. He kept hold of that advantage to make Murray’s job a little harder, as the evening was rolling in.
Just as quickly as Fognini looked like a force to be reckoned with, he seemed to go off the boil again as Murray dominated the third set but the real drama was yet to come.
With Fognini once again striking while Murray looked to be struggling, the Spaniard threatened to break Murray twice for the fourth set and to force a decider. Murray would go on to save two more set points as Fognini attempted to serve out the set for the first time.
A fifth set point was salvaged by the Brit as he held on to his serve before breaking Fognini to establish a lead, almost anti-climatically serving out to love to not only book his place in the fourth round, but to beat the roof being closed for them to finish the match.
After the match, Murray said: “I think physically I certainly could have played a fifth set if it was required. I mean, I finished very strong actually in the end. So did okay physically at the end.
“Fabio has got good timing. I think the quicker court helps his serve a little bit. He puts a lot of returns back in play. He moves well. He has a good slice, volleys very well. In my mind, there’s no reason why he can’t play well on grass.
“I think tonight at times he showed that he’s a very good player on grass courts. The last few years he also hasn’t played any warm-up events. I don’t know if he sort of decided, I don’t really like the grass very much. But he can play well.”
Murray v Benoit Paire | H2H: Murray leads 1-0
While not as flamboyant as Murray’s previous opponents, Benoit Paire does possess a certain flair at times to his play. In their last encounter in Monte the Frenchman was a set and a break up before losing to the Brit in three sets.
That probably typifies Paire – he certainly has talent – a big serve and a solid backhand, but at times goes for too much. He has admitted he loses interest if the ball keeps coming back to him, so you know that will be Murray at his retrieving, counter-punching best.
He can expect Paire to try and throw everything at him, including a kitchen-sink so perhaps it might be like his opener against Alexander Bublik, and he should handle the Frenchman handily, but it would also be no surprise to see this also go to four sets as Paire has shown he is perfectly cable of complicating things for Murray.
Paire said: “To play Murray on Centre Court will be a good experience. I think I can do something good against him. I played against Murray in Monte-Carlo two years before, and it was one set and two breaks for me, and I lost the match in three sets. I think my game is good. I can do something good against him, and I will see.”
Murray on grass is a more formidable proposition than in Monte Carlo, even allowing for Murray’s improvements on the surface.
The Brit said: “He again has a different game to a lot of the guys now. He has very good hands, moves well, takes a lot of chances, goes for his shots. Again, he can be quite up and down. But he seems to have played pretty well so far at this event.
“I expect that to be tricky. I’ve never played him on the grass before. I think until this year he hasn’t played so well on the grass himself. But, again, I see no reason why he can’t play good grass court tennis. I think I only played him once before, and it was a really tight match.”
Prediction: Murray in four sets.
|Who is Murray playing?||Benoit Paire (FRA)|
|Head to Head?||Murray leads 1-0|
|What time is Murray playing & where?||Murray and Paire are scheduled to play in the fourth round on Monday|
|Where/How to watch Murray’s match?||CHANNEL | Tennis on UK TV
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