Andy Murray overcomes shoulder injury to beat Andreas Seppi and move into the fourth round at Wimbledon

Home favourite causes some anxiety as he receives treatment on court but shrugs off problem to beat Seppi and ultimately ease into the fourth round

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray booked his customary place in the second week at Wimbledon here on Saturday, but only after giving his supporters their most unnerving moments of the fortnight so far. Although the world No 3 beat Italy’s Andreas Seppi  6-2 6-2 1-6 6-1, he did so only after suffering a shoulder problem which for a time looked as though it might threaten his progress.

Murray had appeared in complete control after taking the first two sets, but lost the third and went a break down in the fourth before having on-court treatment on his right shoulder. Thereafter, however, the Scot won six games in a row to book a fourth-round meeting tomorrow with the big-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic.

“I thought I played very well,” Murray said afterwards. “There was a part of the [third] set where I struggled a bit, but I hope I can continue playing the way I finished the match. I was playing very aggressive tennis at the end, going for my serves.”

On the first Saturday the All England Club traditionally fills the Royal Box with sporting heroes and Murray must have impressed them all. Gary Lineker would have admired the Scot’s consistency in taking his chances, Chris Robshaw his physical strength and Andrew Strauss his exquisite timing.

 

Murray’s previous match had been played in the heat of the day on Court One but this time he was back in familiar territory, on Centre Court and starting late in the afternoon. By the time the players walked into the arena just after 6pm, the court was half in shade. Although it was a clear evening, both men were no doubt aware that it had the potential to be a long one, with the possibility of finishing the match under lights beneath the retractable roof.

Murray, nevertheless, soon made it clear that he did not want to hang around as he took the first set in just 30 minutes. Seppi made a poor start, dropping serve in the opening game thanks to four forehand errors, and was soon 2-0 down as Murray held serve with a splendid winning forehand cross-court pass. At 2-4 Seppi was broken to love and Murray went on to serve out for the set.

There was no improvement for Seppi in the second set, which followed an identical pattern. Serving at 15-30 in the opening game, the Italian missed what should have been an easy smash and then played a dreadful drop shot on break point which Murray punished.

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Andreas Seppi took advantage to win six games in a row and take the third set

Seppi double-faulted on break point when serving at 2-4 and Murray again served out for the set, although he was forced to defend his first two break points of the match. The Scot saved both with unreturned serves and took the set with an ace.

However, just when the traffic seemed to be all one-way, at the start of the third set Seppi’s Fiat Panda turned around and in the process became a Ferrari Testarossa, while Murray had to send for the AA. Murray’s momentum juddered to a halt after Seppi took a medical time-out for treatment to his right leg and not long afterwards it was the Scot who was in physical trouble.

After the resumption Murray dropped serve for the first time, thanks in large part to two double faults, and two games later he was broken again. This time the world No 3 kept grimacing and clutching at his right shoulder. At 5-1 Seppi failed to take his first two set points but converted the third when Murray put a backhand in the net.

When Murray dropped his serve in the first game of the fourth set, the alarm bells started to ring. They grew even louder when the Scot took a medical time-out and had lengthy treatment on his shoulder.

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Murray's coach Amelie Mauresmo would have been worried for a time

Oddly enough, however, it was the man who had been in physical difficulty who emerged the stronger for the second time in the match. Murray won the first point on the resumption, greeted it with a huge roar of “Come on!” and promptly broke back. Appearing to hit the ball freely with no problems from his shoulder, Murray broke again in the fourth and sixth games before serving out for victory after two hours and eight minutes.

“Towards the end of the second set I was starting to tighten up,” Murray said. “When he took the injury time-out I cooled down a bit. I threw in two double faults in the next game and slowed down my serve. The trainer came out and manipulated my back, gave it a few good cracks.”

Murray has become as much of a fixture in the second week at Wimbledon as sun-burned faces and packed crowds on Henman Hill. The last time he failed to reach the second week here was on his debut year in 2005, when as a spindly 18-year-old ranked No 312 in the world he lost in five sets to David Nalbandian on his Centre Court debut. Murray has also reached the second week of the last 18 Grand Slam tournaments he has played.

The Scot faces a tall order in the next round. At 6ft 11in Karlovic is the tallest player in the world’s top 100.

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