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
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.

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn