Murray digs deep to get past Mello in thriller

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray survived a tough test from Brazil's Ricardo Mello to reach the second round of the Campbell's Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, Rhode Island.

The 19-year-old fought hard to win his first singles match since losing in straight sets to Marcos Baghdatis in the fourth round at Wimbledon, surviving five match points in an epic 12th game of the third set before winning in a tie-break to claim a 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 victory.

Murray wasted little time in the first set, winning it inside 21 minutes. The Scot held in his opening game before converting the second of two break point opportunities which came his way in game two.

He held again before denying Mello a point on his own serve in the fourth game for a second break to go 4-0 up. Mello managed to avoid losing the set by holding at the third attempt to love, but Murray never looked threatened.

He survived a major scare at the start of the second set as he saved three break points in his first service game to hold at 1-1. But that was the only game he won in the set as Mello broke him twice to secure a 6-1 set of his own. Mello, ranked 139th in the world, broke Murray twice in the deciding set to open up a 5-2 lead, but two breaks from the Scot tied the scores at 5-5. Mello broke back to go 6-5 up, setting up an enthralling 12th game where Mello had five match points and Murray had five chances to break, accepting the last of those to force the tie-break.

Even then it was not straightforward as Mello recovered from 3-0 down to lead 5-3 before Murray reeled off four straight points to win the match and set up a match with the American Sam Querrey.

Murray and his brother, Jamie, were defeated in the first round of the men's doubles after a deciding super tie-breaker against the Russian Igor Kunitsyn and Danai Udomchoke, of Thailand. The Scottish duo took the first set 6-3, but then lost the second 6-3 to set up the tie-break. Kunitsyn and Udomchoke took the tie-break 10-7 to wrap up the victory.

* The former Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras had mixed fortunes on his World Team Tennis debut in California on Monday night, winning his doubles match but losing his singles encounter to the world No 211 John Paul Fruttero. Sampras' Newport Beach Breakers team were beaten 22-20 by St Louis Aces.