Before time runs out, Andy Murray fights back to lead Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Before their Wimbledon second round match was postponed at 10.40 p.m. due to the
11 p.m. curfew at the All England Club, Andy Murray had established a 6-7 (3),
7-6 (2), 6-4 lead against Stefanos Tsitsipas, the fifth seed, and put himself in
a good position to pursue his biggest win in the last six years. The match
between Murray and Tsitsipas will be finished on Friday afternoon with a spot in
the round of 32 at stake.

Earlier this summer, Murray waltzed to two
grass-court challenger championships, but Tsitsipas came at Wimbledon in
puzzling shape. Even though he made it to the Australian Open final, seven
months into the year he still hasn’t claimed a victory. His performance on
grass, where he suffered two first-round losses and a dismal 1-3 win-loss record
before Wimbledon, was much worse.
Tsitsipas, however, was given reason for
optimism when his first-round encounter against Dominic Thiem on Wednesday
proceeded as scheduled. Tsitsipas, who was drawn in the most intriguing part of
the men’s draw, defeated Thiem in a thrilling five-set encounter by winning a
flurry of key volleys.

Despite
just facing off twice before, Murray and Tsitsipas have grown very competitive.
Tsitsipas had a lengthy bathroom break before the fifth set of their first match
in the first round of the 2021 US Open. As Tsitsipas narrowly prevailed, Murray
accused the Greek of cheating.

The ATP tightened its restroom break
regulations as a result of what happened that evening, and there was some
animosity between the two parties. However, both players emphasized this week
that their problems have been handled.

Murray went into the second
round with a significant advantage because the first three days of the
tournament’s schedule were ruined by rain. Tsitsipas took only a brief amount of
time on the court in his straightforward victory over British wildcard Ryan
Peniston in the first round on Tuesday. However, it took him until Wednesday
night about 8 o’clock to defeat Thiem in a fifth set tie-break. Before Tsitsipas
and Thiem had even began their match on Wednesday, Murray had concluded his
practice session for his encounter against the Greek.

On Thursday at
7:38 p.m., Murray and Tsitsipas entered Centre Court with the roof already up
and a late night planned. Success for Tsitsipas was expected to depend on how
effectively he could hide his shortcomings with his serve and forehand because
grass courts tend to accentuate them, especially his return of serve and
backhand.

Tsitsipas started the game off with a tremendous amount of
fervor, serving flawlessly and attacking the first balls following his serve
with unrelenting vigor. As the set went on, he developed a stronger forehand,
eviscerating any short balls and hitting his preferred shot flawlessly. Murray
narrowly hung on to his serve in the closing moments of the set despite making
few errors, saving a set point at 5-6. Tsitsipas was consistently within the
baseline and in charge by the tie-break, and his flawless serving and forehands
helped him win the set.

Maintaining that level of play over five sets
against Murray on Wimbledon’s grass courts is a perennial problem. In the
beginning of the second set, Tsitsipas’ serve and forehand masterclass
persisted, as did his vaporizing winners and smooth transition from defense to
attack, despite Murray’s attempts to step inside the baseline and push him into
awkward places on the court.

But as the set went on, Murray
progressively pushed his way to the top. Tsitsipas continued to miss first
serves and forehands, but Murray was able to take advantage of the Greek’s poor
backhand and force errors. On Tsitsipas’ serve toward the conclusion of the set,
Murray created opportunities. This time, the Scot entered the tie-break in the
lead and became utterly dominant as the stakes grew higher. Murray provided
superb service, slogging out errors, excelling at serve returns, and flying
through to tie the game.

Murray now continued to gain momentum.
Tsitsipas finally blinked after two hours of nonstop serving, during which both
players took great care with their service games. His service game was sloppy,
with missed first serves and unsuccessful forehands. In the first game, Murray
pounced, breaking to love. He then held onto his serve until he served for the
third set.

Murray, however, faced a possible catastrophe as he
approached set point. He slipped behind the baseline while defending on the
third set’s penultimate point, with the score at 5-4 and 40-15 on his serve. He
screamed loudly and appeared to be in pain in his groin area. After having
trouble getting up, Murray was able to end the set with an unreturned serve, but
he now has the added worry of making sure he is in the best possible shape to
complete the task.

After Carlos Alcaraz’s second-round encounter
against Alexandre Muller, the pair will play again on Friday as the second match
on Centre Court. Their match is scheduled to begin no later than 3 p.m. Whoever
wins will enter the draw, with Serbia’s Laslo Djere waiting for them in round
three. Earlier on Thursday, Djere, a specialist on clay courts, overcame a set
behind to upset American Ben Shelton 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3.

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