Andy Murray did not play his best against Fabio Fognini but he's through to the fourth round at Wimbledon.
There’s a reason why top players like the best-of-five format. The underdog can get hot for an hour—or the favorite’s level can drop for a stretch—and there’s ample time for a market correction. A longer match = a greater sample size = a greater chance of a regression to the mean.
We got a vivid display of this principle on Friday evening on Centre Court. Andy Murray did not play his best against Fabio Fognini. He lost the second set 6-4. He trailed 2-5 in the fourth. But with the cushion of a longer match, Murray had time to find his game and the better player won.
Happy with his fight if not his form, Murray took it 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5. The defending champ gets Benoit Paire next in the fourth round.