Andy Murray wins epic five-set match to reach the French Open Round of 16
PARIS -- Andy Murray survived a strong charge by No. 28 Philipp Kohlschreiber to advance to the Round of 16 at the French Open after their match was suspended for light late Saturday evening at 7-7 in the fifth set. When the game resumed Sunday morning, the two played eight more games before the seventh seed finally secured the 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 12-10 victory after four hours and seven minutes of total play.
After losing the first set on Saturday, Murray looked to be in cruise control after taking the next two sets, playing some of his finest tennis of the tournament so far. In the fourth set he was up a break twice, but couldn't hold on, allowing Kohlschreiber to break back and steal the set as darkness began to creep in.
There were injury concerns as well, as Murray began to grab at his left hamstring and called the trainer for rubdowns during three consecutive changeovers in the final set. The match was finally called at 7-7 for lack of light.
"I was up in every set, and to not finish at the end of the fourth set when I was up 4‑2 serving 30‑Love was obviously tough," Murray said. "Physically in the fifth set I was struggling. You know, I was cramping. So I was disappointed obviously that I wasn't able to finish in four sets."
When the match resumed, the two battled to hold their serves for seven games, with Kohlschreiber saving an early match point on his serve and Murray saving a break point on his.
Finally the German blinked. He fell behind 15-40 in his service game at 10-11 and Murray secured the win with a clean backhand return winner. His reaction on match point was more one of relief than celebration.
"Stopping the match probably helped me a little bit, because if I had played seven or eight more games, probably wouldn't have been great," Murray said. "But today was a pretty high standard, I thought, for probably the best standard of the match I think from both of us. You know, he came up with some great shots when he was behind in games today. I thought both of us served a little bit better. It was a good finish to the match."
Though he struggled with his serve throughout the match, hitting just 48 percent of his first serves in, Murray was solid off the baseline, hitting 85 winners to 68 unforced errors. Kohlschreiber finished with 57 winners and 55 unforced errors but found a way to keep Murray moving with his angles and line-clipping shot placement.
Murray will play No. 24 Fernando Verdasco, who completed his upset of No. 12 Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in the other light-suspended match of the day.
Watch the setting sun in the match highlights below:
And here's Murray's full post-match press conference:
http://youtu.be/9-0uDRMP1wAThis post has been updated.