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Late, late show: Murray outlasts Blake in opener

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:49

A bloodied Andy Murray battled his way to a 6-3 6-7(5) 7-6(4) victory over James Blake to reach the third round of the BNP Paribas Masters 1000.

The No.4 seed was made to work hard by the American in his opening match, which did not start until shortly before midnight on Wednesday.

As well as having to deal with the late start time, Murray appeared to be struggling with a groin injury, which he was seen nursing on several occasions.

The Scot, who clinched his sixth title of the year at the Valencia Open at the weekend, got off to a sound start, dropping serve once but still cruising to a one-set lead.

But Murray was less fluent in the second set, struggling to make an impression on Blake’s serve as the set drifted towards a tie-break.

The American was leading 6-4 when Murray suffered another injury scare with a heavy fall as he scrambled to retrieve a ball, cutting his right leg in the process. Blake took full advantage to wrap up the set.

While the injuries were clearly hampering Murray in the third, the Scot rarely looked in trouble on his serve as he hit 22 aces in the match.

With neither player able to break, Murray stepped up his game in the deciding tie-break, hitting a winning backhand cross-court pass before converting his first match point when Blake hit a backhand long, ending the contest after two-and-a-quarter gruelling hours.

Murray now faces No.13 seed Radek Stepanek in the third round after the Czech posted a straight-sets winner over Viktor Troicki.

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