Murray wins after amazing comeback

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray produced a repeat of his epic Wimbledon comeback against Richard Gasquet today to avoid crashing out of the French Open in the first round.

Murray's nightmare draw looked like living up to its billing when Gasquet led by two sets and a break on Suzanne Lenglen Court.

But, as in their last meeting in the fourth round at SW19 two years ago, the infamously fragile Frenchman suffered a spectacular collapse as fourth seed Murray won 4-6 6-7 (5/7) 6-4 6-2 6-1 in four hours and four minutes.

The 23-year-olds had enjoyed contrasting fortunes since their Wimbledon clash, the Scot establishing himself in the world's top five and his opponent falling to 68th following injury and a ban for inadvertently taking cocaine.

But Gasquet won his first ATP title for three years at the Nice Open on Saturday, his 10th victory in a row.

Showing no early signs of the leg injury or fatigue which caused him to ask for this afternoon's contest to be delayed until tomorrow, the former world number seven began confidently.

He wasted three break points in the fourth but was showing flashes of his brilliant best on the backhand side.

He did hand his opponent a first break point in game seven but slammed the door as the set looked to be heading for a tie-break.

That was until, serving at 5-4 down, Murray double-faulted, Gasquet hit a brilliant backhand winner to gain two set points and the Scot volleyed limply into the net.

Murray conceded another break point in the fourth game of the second set but saved that before wasting one himself in the next.

Neither player was serving well and Murray repeatedly smacked himself in the face after his second double-fault handed Gasquet break point in game six before he held on.

He was forced to do the same in game 12 to take the set to a tie-break.

That saw Murray twice fight back from mini-breaks - including saving a set point - but he lost the initiative once more and this time Gasquet made him pay.

An angry Murray returned to his chair, complaining bitterly at the umpire at what he claimed were delaying tactics from his opponent, saying: "Every single game in the match bar one, he's stopped me when I'm ready."

Murray was now in an identical position to Wimbledon two years ago, needing to produce something special or hope his opponent suffered one of his famous collapses.

The Scot's pitiful first-serve percentage of 39% from the second set immediately improved but that did not stop him being broken in game five of the third.

The Parisien crowd were now firmly on their man's side, their chants inspiring him to 15-40 on the Murray serve, the Scot gifting Gasquet the second of the two break points.

However, the Frenchman immediately handed Murray three break-back points, teasing him by saving two before choking on the third.

He also conceded three more in game eight, a double-fault giving the Scot the opportunity to serve for the set.

Murray blew it, shouting "woeful!" at himself as he returned to his chair, but Gasquet duly dropped serve for a third time in a row to hand him the set.

The echoes of Wimbledon 2008 were becoming hard to ignore but Gasquet showed some resolve to earn break point on the Murray serve in game three in the fourth.

Superb defence from the Scot forced a smash error and he held, which proved crucial because Gasquet immediately dropped serve himself as his disintegration continued.

That was partly down to some good play from Murray, who clinched the game with a finely-crafted point, finished off by a simple volley.

Chants of "Richard, Richard, Richard" resumed as Gasquet served at 5-2 to stay in the set but this time there was no inspiration as he slumped to 15-40, Murray levelling the match at the second attempt to force a decider.

Gasquet received a massage on the leg he hurt in Nice before the start of the fifth, having already taken painkillers earlier in the match.

After several minutes' treatment, he was ready to continue and he showed early signs of rediscovering some form, forcing Murray to save a break point in game three.

But his own serve was another matter, backhand error handing Murray his serve on a plate in games four and six.

Serving for the match, the Scot wasted little time completing another remarkable comeback.