Murray secures third-round spot
Andy Murray celebrates defeating Croatia's Ivo Karlovic at Wimbledon // Andy Murray celebrates defeating Croatia's Ivo Karlovic at Wimbledon
Andy Murray celebrates defeating Croatia's Ivo Karlovic at Wimbledon
Andy Murray has survived a close encounter with Croatian man-mountain Ivo Karlovic to reach the third round at Wimbledon.
It looked a dangerous match for the world number four and so it proved, with Murray making only eight unforced errors but still dropping a set before coming through 7-5 6-7 (7/5) 6-2 7-6 (7/4).
A break of serve at the start of the third set proved a turning point for the home hope, and he edged the fourth-set tie-break after his opponent served an untimely double fault.
Murray, who restricted big-serving Karlovic to 17 aces, said: "Winning is all that's really important when you're playing a guy with his game. It's so challenging to get into a rhythm. I did well at the beginning of the third set to get the break.
"With someone like him it's a bit of a lottery but you hope he makes a mistake. He served a double fault in the tie-break and that was the difference. I felt I returned well today. I didn't get aced too many times."
Playing a man 6ft 10in tall, the last thing any player would want is to go down an early break, so dropping serve in the first game was certainly not what Murray's coach Ivan Lendl would have ordered. However, Murray is one of the best returners in tennis and he was up to the task by breaking straight back, albeit with the help of the net cord.
The flow of the match became more predictable until the 10th game when, with Karlovic serving to stay in the set, Murray found the perfect time to produce some of his best returns, earning him two set points. Karlovic sent down unreturnable serves, but a super backhand return gave Murray another chance two games later, and this time he took it.
Karlovic, watched by countryman and 2001 champion Goran Ivanisevic, showed particularly good touch at the net for a man his size, and it was no surprise when the second set went to a tie-break. Murray's passing shots deserted him at the wrong time and it was Karlovic who took his first set point with a volley.
Murray, who had understandably started to look a touch frustrated, broke his opponent at the start of the third set and did so again in the seventh game before easily serving out the set.
The fourth set went to another tie-break and, after the pair exchanged mini-breaks, it was Karlovic who made the crucial mistake, serving a double fault to hand Murray a 5-4 lead with two serves to come. He did not falter, clinching victory when the Croatian sliced a backhand wide, and will face Marcos Baghdatis in the next round.
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