If everything had looked all too easy for Andy Murray in his first two matches here at the Olympic tournament, Marcos Baghdatis gave the world No 4 a timely reminder yesterday that the challenges will only get tougher as he continues his quest for gold. The 27-year-old Cypriot got the better of Murray for the best part of an hour before the home favourite turned the match around to win 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 and book his place in today's quarter-finals.
Murray had played his opening two matches under the Centre Court roof, but this time the 25-year-old Scot had to deal with a gusting wind, which whipped up clouds of dust from the heavily worn areas around the baseline. Baghdatis, a streaky player who can be a threat to anyone when on song, dictated proceedings until the match turned when he made a dreadful error early in the second set.
"At the start of the match it was very windy and it pretty much continued that way," Murray said. "After playing two matches indoors, where there's none of that to worry about, I was pretty unsure of myself at the beginning of the match and didn't feel comfortable on the court. Then I managed to settle myself down and move my feet better to get in better position in the second set. I played some good tennis after that."
Baghdatis broke serve in the opening game as Murray struggled to find his rhythm. The Scot broke to level at 2-2, but at 3-3 played an uncharacteristically loose game to hand Baghdatis a break to love and the Cypriot went on to serve out for the first set.
The momentum shifted decisively in the fourth game of the second set. Baghdatis had put himself in trouble with two double faults and on Murray's second break point the former Australian Open runner-up put what should have been an easy forehand put-away into the net. Murray broke again two games later and levelled the match at one set apiece.
The Scot's growing confidence was evident on the opening point of the final set as he dived, Becker-like, to hit a glorious forehand volley winner. By the time he led 2-0 in the decider Murray had won seven games in a row. Baghdatis, having finally stopped the rot, briefly threatened when he got to 15-30 as Murray served for the match, but the world No 4 won the next three points, securing victory with a big forehand winner into the corner.
In the quarter-finals Murray faces the world No 12, Spain's Nicolas Almagro, who has lost their last two match-ups.
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