It was typical Andy Murray as he recovered from a slow start to reach the quarter finals of the Gijon Open in North-West Spain following a battling two-hour and 49-minute encounter with Pedro Cachin, the Argentine world ranked 61.
I fought very hard to come back from a break down twice in the third set. I fought very hard to come back from a break down twice in the third set Andy Murray
He eventually cleared his second-round opponent 2-6 7-5 7-6(3) to face Sebastian Korda for a place in the semi-finals, the American having also battled through a three setter to defeat the third seed and local hero, Roberto Bautista Agut 5-7 6-4 6-4.
The first set was very much the Argentine’s as he stormed ahead before the former world No.1 could catch his breath but that he did in the second, where his renowned fighting spirit came to the fore.
There the two players ensured they held serve until the 12th game when Murray broke through to take the set and force a decider.
In the third both of the opening two games were breaks before the following two went with serve. That exchange repeated itself, but the pair were level and on serve at 3-3 and it wasn’t until the tie-break that the quarter final place finally was finally settled.
“I think I served well in the second and third sets. I fought very hard,” Murray said following his victory.
“In the first set I wasn’t playing my best and Pedro was serving very well for the first set and a half. I was really struggling to break serve. I changed the way I was returning to give myself more opportunities to break. I fought very hard to come back from a break down twice in the third set. I fought very hard to come back from a break down twice in the third set.”
Murray was consistent throughout, hitting 31 winners and committing just 19 unforced errors.
The 35-year-old, currently No. 46 in the world rankings, is hoping to win his first tour-level title since he triumphed in Antwerp in 2019. Earlier this season, Murray, with 46 titles to his credit, reached finals on hard in Sydney and on grass in Stuttgart.
Also on Thursday, the top seeded Andrey Rublev was finally in action for the first time this week to eventually prevail 6-3 5-7 6-4 against compatriot Ilya Ivashka in what proved a hard-hitting encounter as he opened his bid for his fourth tour-level title this season.
The 24-year-old Muscovite kept his composure after letting a 4-2 lead slip in the second set as both players played aggressively throughout the two-hour, 28-minute second round match.
But it was always going to be Rublev to progress as he proved clearly to be the more determined as he downed his countryman, who has yet to beat him, for a third time.
Rublev finished the match having hit 51 winners to 13 and will next meet fifth-seeded American Tommy Paul who ousted the Spanish qualifier Nicolas Alvarez Varona 6-3 7-6(3).
In other action, fourth seed Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina, moved past French qualifier Manuel Guinard 7-6(5) 6-2 for his first tour-level win since July, when he reached the last four in Hamburg.
The player from Buenos Aires, who lifted his maiden tour-level trophy in Bastad in July, will next play the former US Open champion from Austria, Dominic Thiem thanks to his one-hour, 48-minute victory.
Meanwhile in Florence, Italy at the Unicredit Firenze Open, the third seeded Lorenzo Musetti from Carrara, continues to carry Italian hopes as he rolled past 74th-ranked Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-3 6-0 to make the last eight.
The 20-year-old Musetti hit 21 winners to his Spanish opponent´s eight.
Musetti will next play American Mackenzie McDonald, who eliminated Italian wild card Francesco Passaro 6-4 7-5 while eighth-seeded Brandon Nakashima, another American, defeated Turkish qualifier Altug Celikbilek 6-3 6-4.
Nakashima´s quarterfinal opponent will be the top-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, in his first match of the week, edged past Germany’s Oscar Otte 6-4 6-7(2) 6-2.
“It was a great start. I played a great first set and until the middle of the second set, and then sometimes that’s how it is in tennis, you get nervous a little bit. Of course, I would have loved to close the match in two sets, but the most important thing is that I was able to bounce back playing some good tennis in the third set”, Auger Aliassime said.