Murray advances in the French Open

Andy Murray survived a major mid-match slump to defeat Potito Starace in four sets in the second round of the French Open today.

The British number one was a 6-3 2-6 7-5 6-4 winner against the Italian on Philippe Chatrier court, setting up a third-round clash with either Janko Tipsarevic or Feliciano Lopez, the 28th seed.



Murray started and finished solidly but his form dipped dramatically in the second and third sets, when he lost 11 out of 13 games to the world number 104.



In that third set, he recovered from 5-1 down to win six games in a row, and that laid the platform for his battling victory.



It is the second year in a row he has made the third round at Roland Garros.



As Murray predicted, Starace stuck stubbornly behind his baseline throughout but after a slow start the 27-year-old showed why the Scot had dubbed him a clay-court specialist and a "top player" on the eve of the match.



The first set was all about Murray's nagging consistency. Although he landed just 62% of his first serves, that department was very solid as he dropped just three points on serve.



It meant Starace was always under pressure on his serve, and after Murray squandered two break points in the third game, he earned two more in game five, taking the second of them with a fading backhand down the line.



The Scot took the 31-minute set at the first time of asking when Starace netted trying to retrieve a cute Murray drop shot but the flow of the match suddenly changed.



Starace upped both his intensity and aggression, and Murray - whose first-serve percentage slipped to 52% - suffered.



The Briton saved two early break points but was up against it in his next service game, in the third game of the set, as he faced five more.



He saved the first four, each time coming to the net, but on the fifth Starace emerged triumphant thanks to a blocked backhand at the end of a wonderful rally.



A powerful cross-court backhand on the first of two break points allowed Starace to go 4-1 up and he did not wilt in the face of fierce Murray resistance when serving for the set, taking it at the fourth time of asking.



Murray was just as error-prone at the start of a riveting third set, as he was broken twice to slip 5-1 down.



The 22-year-old looked down and out but after saving a set point the next game, he launched a memorable comeback.



Retrieving drop-shots he was not making earlier, Murray won another five games in the spin - one of which contained another Starace set point - as he broke three times to claim a set that looked to have got away from him.



The fourth and final set went with serve until 5-4, when Murray claimed a hard-fought victory on his third match point with a fiercely whipped, cross-court forehand.



Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before