LONDON, July 7, 2017
Defending champion and top seed Andy Murray headlined Friday’s third round action at Wimbledon, winning an exciting clash with No. 28 seed Fabio Fognini of Italy in the final match on Centre Court.
Murray was fully aware of the danger posed by Fognini, who has beaten him in three of their six previous meetings, including a straight sets win at the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome this year. The World No. 1 was wide awake in the decisive moments and rallied back from a 2-5 deficit in the fourth set to seal a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory in two hours and 39 minutes.
“At the end of the match it was tense, I maybe saved five set points then there was a tight game to break him at 5-5, then I served it out really well to finish,” Murray told the BBC after the encounter.
“It was a very up and down match, I did not feel it was my best tennis at times, but I managed to get through.
“It is difficult when you play a guy who has all of the shots like him, he was was taking me out of my rhythm. It was getting dark at the end and we would have had to come off for the roof had I lost that fourth set, so I was pleased to get off.
“My body felt ok. I didn’t feel I moved as well as I did in my first couple of matches. But I have got a couple of days break where I can work on that. Hopefully I can get myself into a good rhythm and come out on Monday and play good tennis. I am happy to get through the first week and anything can happen.”
Murray will next take on Frenchman Benoit Paire, who prevailed 6-2, 7-6, 6-3 over Jerzy Janowicz of Poland.
Earlier in the day, reigning Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal defeated No. 30 seed #NextGenATP star Karen Khachanov of Russia 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 in the second match on Centre Court. The 31-year-old Spaniard withstood 13 aces, hitting seven of his own to advance after two hours and 14 minutes.
“For a set and a half I was playing fantastic, then a little bit worse,” said Nadal. “But in general terms, it went very well and I’m very happy. At the beginning of the third set, I had my chances. I should have got the break. It didn’t happen. Then, I had two tough games on my serve. That’s it. I think I played well in the important moments. In the tie-break, I think I played a little bit better than him.
“It is always better when the sun is out there. The conditions become a little bit more drier, and the court is more firm. It’s better obviously for me. It’s always good to be in the second week. I hope the weather continues like this.”
Next up for Nadal will be veteran Gilles Muller from Luxembourg, who beat Aljaz Bedene from Great Britain 7-6, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and 27 minutes.
Kevin Anderson recorded his 50th Grand Slam match-win with a 7-6, 6-4, 7-6 win over Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans. Anderson has become the seventh South African man to reach 50 Grand Slam match-wins (including Kevin Curren and Johan Kriek, who represented South Africa during the early part of their careers). Anderson will next challenge either Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Sam Querrey from the United States.