Murray survives third set meltdown at Wimbledon

Nikoloz Basilashvili forces fourth set in first round match

Andy Murray in action against Nikoloz Basilashvili on Centre Court on day one of Wimbledon. Photograph: John Walton/PA Wire.

Andy Murray in action against Nikoloz Basilashvili on Centre Court on day one of Wimbledon. Photograph: John Walton/PA Wire.

 

Andy Murray overcame a dramatic third-set collapse to defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili and make a winning return to Centre Court.

The former world number one, playing his first singles match at Wimbledon since 2017, looked set to cruise over the line when he led by two sets and 5-0 in front of a raucous crowd. But Murray faltered within sight of the line, Basilashvili found renewed hope and he reeled off seven games in a row, saving two match points, to force a fourth set with darkness closing in.

That meant a delay while the roof was closed and Murray regrouped, moved back in front and this time finished the job off to win 6-4 6-3 5-7 6-3.

Four years after limping out of Wimbledon following a quarter-final loss to Sam Querrey, Murray returned in singles with expectations severely tempered by ongoing physical issues and a lack of match play.

With Basilashvili an opponent of some calibre and a two-time ATP Tour champion this season, there were fears Murray’s return could also be his Wimbledon swansong. But the 34-year-old has been consistently bullish about his chances of returning to the top of the game if his body cooperates, and the test will now be whether he can back up this match against one of two qualifiers, Oscar Otte or Arthur Rinderknech, who were tied at 9-9 in the fifth when their match was suspended.

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