Murray wins race against time

Sun, Jul 1, 2012, 01:00

Tennis:Andy Murray had one eye on his opponent and one on the clock as his Wimbledon third round clash against Marcos Baghdatis turned into a tension-soaked race against time under Centre Court's roof last night. The scoreboard at the end showed the number four seed had won 7-5 3-6 7-5 6-1, but it was the time in the top left corner that had most people transfixed.

Murray had to get the encounter wrapped up before the 11pm cut-off time for play under the roof lights, a deadline imposed by local authorities, or he would have been forced to come back on Monday to finish off the Cypriot.

A mid-match wobble in which he lost the second set followed by an extended delay as the giant mechanical roof was heaved into place ensured the seconds were ticking away as he eventually stamped his authority on the match in the fourth set when Baghdatis seemed to lose heart.

With a double break in the bank, the result was hardly in doubt but all eyes were on the umpire to see if he was going to allow the final game to played as the clocked ticked past the deadline. Murray did not even sit down when the players changed ends at 4-1, hurrying to the other end while glancing anxiously at the time.

As it turned out, Murray wasted precious few seconds, racing through the final two games and firing down an ace to bring up match point. When Baghdatis sent a forehand return long to bring an end to the spectacle the clock had ticked round to 2302, making it the latest finish in Wimbledon history.

"I think if the set had been tighter it would have been distracting," Murray, who had seemed in trouble when going a break down in the third set, told reporters while having his post-match aches eased by a massage in the locker room."Because then momentum was with me, I just wanted to keep it going and play fairly quickly whereas for him, it would have been better to slow it down a little bit.

"I was under the impression that at 11 o'clock we would stop regardless of what the score was and I broke serve to go 5-1 and then walked to the net because I thought we were to have to come back on Monday . . . wven at 5-1, that match still could have gone on it was just lucky I finished it in a couple of minutes."

Murray will now face Croatian Marin Cilic in the last 16.

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