ATP Vienna: Andy Murray battles from a set down to defeat Gilles Simon in marathon match

After going down a set, Andy Murray came back to win the next two sets to book his spot in the Erste Bank Open quarterfinals.

ATP Vienna: Andy Murray battles from a set down to defeat Gilles Simon in marathon match
Andy Murray in action at the Erste Bank Open (Photo: Erste Bank Open)
Andy Murray
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Gilles Simon

At the Erste Bank Open, number one seed Andy Murray defeated Gilles Simon 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 to progress to the quarterfinals on Friday. 

The Brit will now face big-serving John Isner. He has won all six meetings, with the last one coming at Roland Garros earlier this year. 

Simon wins opening set

Both players came out playing aggressive tennis. Murray managed to bring the game to deuce. Following a missed backhand down the line from Simon, Murray broke immediately. However, the Brit struggled on serve. Hitting the drop shot, Murray invited Simon to come to the net, which he managed to play back into court and after an attempted lob, Simon hit the overhead smash and broke back immediately.

The Frenchman got the match's first hold of serve as he went in front, 2-1. The Brit continued to struggle on serve and following back-to-back double faults, the game went to deuce. An error from the forehand of Murray presented Simon with a break point opportunity.

Gilles Simon during Antwerp Open (Photo: Pupo/Getty Images)
Gilles Simon during Antwerp Open (Photo: Pupo/Getty Images)

A brilliant response from the world number 24, surprising Murray gave him the break before battling through his service game and consolidating for a 4-1 lead. After a couple of shaky service games, Murray held serve much comfortable to reduce the deficit to 2-4. With the score now at 5-3 in favour of Simon, Murray urged the Frenchman to come forward with a couple teasing shots, however, Simon hit the short angle and gained a set point at 30-40.

Murray attacked Simon and finished the point off with an overhead smash to deny the 31-year-old. In the next point, Simon then attacked the volley but managed to play it wide to gift Murray a glimmer of hope in the set. An error from the forehand of the Frenchman gave Murray the break back, but still led 5-4. Still struggling on serve, Simon broke down the suspense of Murray and gained a second match point. An unforced error from the Brit handed the first set to Simon, 6-4. 

Murray fights back; forces a deciding set

Simon started the set with a comfortable hold of serve. The next service game produced the longest game of the match, lasting 14 and a half minutes before Murray held a titanic game with a big first serve which included six break points and four game points. Simon fired a forehand into the net to hand a break point to Murray in the following game, one he would convert with a forehand winner, which would give the Brit the first break of the set.

An unforced error in the very next game allowed Simon the chance to break immediately back. Murray managed to squander the chance hitting the ace but the Frenchman came back at Murray and fired a forehand winner to bring up a second break point. chance. An attempted passing shot from the 29-year-old went wide and Simon broke at the second time of asking and drew level at 2-2.

With both players failing to hold serve, Murray gained another break point, this time at 40-15. Murray bounced straight back and broke Simon to go up 3-2. This time around, he consolidated the break and the momentum shifted his way as he held to go 4-2 up. Having put so much effort to contain Murray, the Frenchman began suffering and the Brit realized that, going love-40 up, gaining triple break points.

The former Vienna champion broke, winning his twelfth point in a row as he prepared to serve for the match. Murray gained his first set point at 40-30, but the Frenchman won the point before a double fault from Murray gave Simon a break point. Murray quickly erased the point, fired an ace and put the set to bed, winning 6-2 and forcing the decider. 

Murray wins decider

After a medical timeout on his foot, Gilles Simon came out for the final set slowly. In the third game, the Frenchman hit a backhand error which handed three break point opportunities to the Brit. Murray won the next point and would go on to break. However, he failed to consolidate after flashing a backhand long and Simon drew level at 2-2.

Murray continued to work the Frenchman, gaining a break point after his opponent chased down a drop shot and blazed it over. Simon saved a break point, using his defensive skills to the full. Being put under all kinds of pressure, Simon then flashed a backhand wide to gift Murray another break point.

Andy /Murray during Tie Break Tens (Photo: ATP World Tour)
Andy /Murray during Tie Break Tens (Photo: ATP World Tour)

Simon saved a second break point but couldn't save a third as Murray got the crucial break, attacking Simon from the off. The 29-year-old consolidated serve pretty comfortably for 4-2. Murray used his movement to effect, changing direction and troubling Simon, who seemed to be struggling following two grueling sets.

In the next point, Murray gained a break point, putting Simon into difficult positions to attack in the rally. Simon saved the break point but the Brit quickly gained another hitting an astonishing return with great pace from his backhand side with no backswing. Simon smashed a forehand into the net as his resistance came to an end. Despite having a match point saved, Murray clinched the set, 6-2, and victory with a strong second serve.