Andy Murray completes fightback to advance at French Open
Tuesday 31 May 2011
Andy Murray reflected on one of the most emotional victories of his career after defying an ankle injury and the best efforts of Viktor Troicki to book a place in the quarter-finals of the French Open.
The match had to be completed today after the Scot had fought back from two sets and a break down yesterday evening to tie things up.
The one-set shoot-out on Court Suzanne Lenglen seemed to be going Troicki's way when the Serb moved to 30-0 serving at 5-3 but a combination of nerves and some gutsy play from Murray helped him chalk up five games in a row to win 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-2 7-5.
The Scot had begun the match by losing five straight games as he battled to overcome an ankle injury sustained in his previous win over Michael Berrer, and he revealed this afternoon that he is playing with a torn tendon.
Murray, who joked in a TV interview he had "more pills in me than Ozzy Osbourne", said: "The day and a half before the match was pretty tough. It was pretty stressful and tiring before I went on the court. And then today was tougher than yesterday. I was really nervous.
"It was funny, after the points I was getting so tired in my legs and so out of breath. I wasn't even hitting the ball hard and was hardly doing any running. I think it was just nerves, and the windy conditions didn't help.
"But once I went behind again, I loosened up a little bit, started going for my shots more and got through it. Emotionally it was pretty challenging.
"I don't think many people recover from a sprained ankle and a tear in a tendon in two days. I was told to stay off my feet totally the day in between the matches. I was given crutches which I didn't use because I didn't know how to.
"I didn't know how was it going to be until I went onto the court. The fact that I recovered well enough to play was probably the best point for me. I haven't really been in this position before in a slam.
"I managed to come back from a situation that on another day or another tournament I might not have been able to, so I was proud of that."
Murray will now face unseeded Juan Ignacio Chela for the third year in a row at Roland Garros. The Scot has won his last six meetings with the Argentinian, who is in the last eight for the first time since losing to Tim Henman in 2004.
Murray said: "No disrespect to any of the guys I'm playing against, but I felt like there's a good chance for me to do well here. I have a very good record against Viktor and a very good record against Chela."
The fourth seed admitted he is risking further injury and revealed that he played without strapping on the ankle for some of the match yesterday after not realising he would not be allowed to have it replaced.
He added: "Because it's an existing injury, you can't have it retaped and I didn't know that. I know that now, a mistake I'm not going to make again.
"The problem is if you go over on the ankle again, then that's dangerous, because obviously it's weak just now. When you have twisted an ankle or sprained an ankle, it doesn't take one day to build confidence. To go over on it again would be an issue."
Chela did not feel the injury adversely affected Murray, saying: "Not at all. To me, he ran normally. We've played a couple of times before, he was running full power and going for his shots."
The Serbian was understandably hugely disappointed to lose a match he should have won and admitted the opportunity to reach a grand slam semi-final had flashed before his eyes.
Troicki said: "It's definitely one of the toughest losses in my career. It was a great opportunity to go to the quarter-finals to play against Chela, to go for the semis.
"Chela is a great player. It would be tough to beat him. But I was thinking it's better to play Chela than to play Rafa (Nadal). Maybe that's why I was a bit nervous in the final moments when I had to close it out."
Troicki also had to cope with a bizarre let call at the start of the sixth game when a ball boy ran onto court thinking one of Murray's shots was not going over the net and collided with the Serb as he smashed away a winner.
Troicki, who eventually broke in that game, argued his case vociferously with the umpire but accepted that, by the letter of the law, the point did have to be replayed.
He added: "I won that game but I have never seen such a situation. Andy didn't do anything wrong. He just continued playing the point. He was lucky that the kid came in. But this had nothing to do with the rest of the match."
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