As the darkness closed in over the Parisian clay at Roland Garros, Andy Murray made sure that the lights didn’t go out on his French Open dream.
He will continue his first round match with the 37-year-old Czech Radek Stepanek tomorrow after making a revival from two sets down.
Murray will resume the contest trailing 3-6 3-6 6-0 4-2, after an unexpected scare on the Philippe Chatrier court.
The pair didn’t enter the arena until after 7pm local time following a lengthy rain delay earlier in the day. After an anonymous both players decided that it was too dark to continue and left the court just before 9.30pm with Murray back in the ascendancy.
Stepanek had pushed Murray close in their most recent meeting in Madrid earlier this month when he took a set off the world number two.
Stepanek Stuns Paris Crowd
Even so it was still a huge shock when the wily Czech secured the first break of serve and went on to take the opening set in 43 minutes.
The heavy conditions on the Philippe Chatrier caused by the persistent rain earlier in the day allowed Stepanek camp up on the baseline and amazingly dictate points against one of the best movers in the game.
Murray was regularly bamboozled by the Czech’s intelligent drop shots and vast variety, which allowed him to control proceedings from inside the court.
Normality appeared to have been restored when Murray broke serve in the first for the first time in the opening game of the second, yet he handed his advantage back in the very next game.
Second Seed Pushed To The Brink
His struggle to make inroads in the Stepanek game continued, and with the Czech serving first it was the 37-year-old who continuously nudged his noise in front in the second set.
At 4-3 a slack game from the Brit unveiled his worst nightmare, as Stepanek was allowed to serve for a two set lead.
At 30-15 up the Czech missed a routine smash which looked like it could be costly, however he quickly recomposed himself to win the next two points and significantly the set to Murray onto the brink of defeat.
Murray was caught making regular glances up at his player’s box which included new member Jamie Delgado. At one stage the Brit chuntered to himself that he’d ‘destroyed his legs’ before the tournament and amazingly it was the second seed who appeared to be suffering from fatigue.
Murray Comes Stroming Back
That was soon rectified when, as if a switch had been flicked, Murray raced through the third without dropping a single game.
Murray’s negative energy was now being used to produce loud roars of ‘come on’ and ‘let’s go’ in an attempt to fire himself up.
After halving the set deficit in 23 minutes, Murray sustained his momentum with an early break in the second game of the fourth.
At 4-2 the decision was made by both players to suspend play for the day, meaning that they will resume tomorrow.