Andy Murray fought back to win a stunning five-set nail-biter against German qualifier Oscar Otte at Wimbledon; he now has a third-round date with Denis Shapovalov to look forward to on Friday after the Canadian 10th seed earned a walkover
Andy Murray proceeded with his Wimbledon run with a classic comeback to win against German qualifier Oscar Otte in five thrilling sets under the Centre Court roof on Wednesday.
Former world No 1 Murray bucked up for the challenge after gaining a victory in the opening set, but the real drama of his four-set win over Nikoloz Basilashvili on Monday took its toll as he fell behind and looked to be going for the exit door.
Despite taking a complicated fall ahead in the fourth set, the Scot came back out after the roof was closed showing all his trademark competitive spirit to win a thriller 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-4 6-2.
Otte, making his Wimbledon entry, was playing for the third day in a row having come through a two-day marathon against fellow qualifier Arthur Rinderknech to win only the second deciding tie-break in All England Club history.
Seeded at 151, he led by two sets to love against Alexander Zverev in the first round of the French Open before losing in five and Murray knew the German with his unorthodox serving style could prove a tough opponent on his day and so it proved for moments of their dramatic contest
Four years after limping out of Wimbledon following a quarter-final loss to Sam Querrey, Murray’s goals were harshly tempered by ongoing physical problems and a lack of match play heading into this year’s Wimbledon.
But after his thrilling victory over 24th seed Basilashvili, the two-time Wimbledon champion continued his winning rhythm, the roof was closed under darkening skies at 2-2 in the fourth, claiming 10 out of the subsequent 14 games to make it through to the third round after 3 hours and 51 minutes.
Talking to the crowd, Murray said with a barely contrite smile: “I enjoyed the end, the middle part not so much. What an atmosphere to play in at the end. I needed everyone’s help tonight. I played some great shots at the end to finish it but it was a tough match.
“I had to do something differently. I started going for my shots more, started dictating more of the points. I think I played the right way the last couple of sets. The first set and a half was really good, it’s just the bits in the middle I’d like to change.
“I’m obviously tired. I fell over a couple of times, pretty slick courts. Considering everything, I feel all right. Hopefully, I come out on Friday and play in another atmosphere like this and hopefully perform well.”
Murray broke the big-serving 27-year-old twice and seemed to be well on his way to round three when he pushed 3-1 ahead in the second. But a loose service game, related with a more fierce approach from his opponent, turned the match completely on its head.
Otte won four games in a row before serving out the second set, and it was a weary-looking Murray who was broken in the seventh game of the third. The 34-year-old’s movement needed agility and too often his shots did not have adequate strength behind them to put Otte under any real tension.
The German had to pause for a weak line judge to be replaced before serving for a two-sets-to-one lead, but it did not put him off.
There was a worrying period for Murray and his many fans inside Centre Court when he became the latest player to slip in the second game of the fourth set, letting out a cry and gripping his groin. But there did not seem to be any permanent damage and two games later the match was paused so the roof could be closed.