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Murray scrapes past Vesely in California heat

ESPN staff
March 10, 2014 « Wenger puts pressure on referee | Chartbeat test »
Andy Murray battled from a set and a break down to beat Jiri Vesely © Getty Images
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Andy Murray survived a huge scare as he narrowly edged world No.77 Jiri Vesely 6-7(2) 6-4 6-4 to book a spot in the last 16 at Indian Wells.

Murray had to come from a set and break down against the the 20-year-old, who is ranked 71 places below the British No.1, in a match that lasted almost three hours in the rising California heat.

In the early stages it looked to be an impending procession for Murray, who secured a double-break to lead 3-0 in the opening set.

Murray relieved to get through

  • Andy Murray admitted neither he or opponent Jiri Vesely were at their best during his narrow victory at Indian Wells.
  • Murray came from a set and a break down to book his spot in the last-16, but was relieved to finish victorious after almost three hours on court.
  • "It was a pretty ugly match to be involved in to be honest," Murray told Sky Sports. "There was no real rhythm, neither of us really played well at the same time as the other but thankfully I just managed to dig it out in the end.
  • "He's a tricky player, I've never played against him before. He doesn't hit the ball that big from the back of the court but he understands how to play the points. He uses the angles well and serves big."

However, Vesely broke back and held his own serve to move back within one before Murray restored a two-game advantage at 4-2.

There came the turning point of the first set as Murray wasted several chances to break Vesely's serve for a commanding 5-2 lead. Vesely scraped a hold before breaking Murray, who appeared to be feeling the effects of the heat, to edge himself back into it.

Vesely had treatment for a troublesome blister on his foot but it failed to faze him, rather spur him on as he broke back with Murray serving for the set. At 5-5, Vesely then held serve to lead for the first time of the match. Murray, however, forced the tie-breaker but was outclassed as Vesely drew first blood.

It got immediately worse for the Brit as Vesely took advantage in the opening game of the second with a break, before holding to cement a 2-0 lead. Like Murray in the first set, Vesely could not consolidate his lead and Murray levelled at three games apiece.

Vesely capitalised on Murray's increasing frustration at his own serve, but the world No.6 finally found his stride with another double-break for the set; this time, Vesely's lob dropped long of the baseline and the match was level.

The breaking theme continued in the opening two games of the third, before Murray saved three break points. On the fourth, however, he slammed his return into the net for the third successive break of serve. Ironically, Vesely broke the trend to hold and establish a 3-1 lead.

The pair exchanged blows once more but Murray struck back to lead 5-4. Vesely saved Murray's first match point after a superb rally which culminated at the net, before Murray edged an advantage again; however, on the next rally, Murray's lob fell wide of the line and a second match point went begging.

Murray did not need another invitation and after another pulsating base-line rally, Vesely netted his drop-shot return to spare the Brit's blushes in the Californian heat.

Four-time champion Roger Federer needed two tie-breaks to get past Dmitry Tursunov in their third round tie, as the Swiss won through 7-6(7) 7-6(2) in one hour 44 minutes out on court.

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