Murray takes 2-1 lead vs. Tsitsipas as play halted

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LONDON — Andy Murray’s bid to reach the third round of Wimbledon was halted by a local council curfew with him holding a 2-1 lead against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The curfew means the match will be completed on Friday, scheduled as the second match on Centre Court, not before 3 p.m. local time.

Murray has the overnight advantage against world No.5 Tsitsipas after an epic clash on Centre Court with play suspended at 10.39 p.m., 21 minutes before the 11 p.m. Merton council curfew.

This cut-off time for play on the two main courts at Wimbledon was agreed between the local council, residents and the All England Club when they installed the roof on Centre Court in 2009 meaning the match is paused with Murray leading 6-7 (2), 7-6 (2), 6-4.

There was drama right to the end with Murray falling to the ground in pain on set point in the third set, but he recovered to serve out and take a 2-1 overnight lead.

With Murray’s match against Tsitsipas third on Centre Court on Thursday there was always a risk of it not being completed due to time restrictions.

Earlier in the day, fellow Brit Liam Broady defeated Casper Ruud in three hours and 28 minutes in a five-set epic, and then reigning champion Elena Rybakina saw off Alize Cornet in straight sets. This saw Murray’s match against Tsitsipas start at 7.45 p.m. local time.

Murray came into the match with a day’s more rest than his opponent after easing through his first round match against Brit Ryan Peniston on Tuesday. For Tsitsipas, his first round match against Dominic Thiem started Tuesday but was only completed late Wednesday due to rain delays.

But there were no signs of fatigue on Tsitsipas’ part despite his first round match going to five sets.

The first set went the way of Tsitsipas, who took it 7-3 in the tiebreak, winning four straight points to close it out. Tsitsipas’ forehand was on point, coming to the fore in the big moments as part of an aggressive strategy to gatecrash Murray’s home comforts. Tsitsipas hitting 21 winners to Murray’s 11 told the story of the tight first set with the key mini-break in the tiebreak seeing him through.

The second set was much the same, in a match of cat and mouse. It needed the tiebreak to separate both with Murray capitalising on a slight drop in the usually pinpoint Tsitsipas forehand to force two mini-breaks and to take the set, prompting a thunderous response from the Centre Court crowd.

After a delay between the second and third set, with Murray taking an on-court break and Tsitsipas then waiting to take his, the crowd booed the Greek player as he returned.

Murray broke Tsitsipas’ serve to love in the first game of the third to continue his dominant spell as the clock ticked closer to 10 p.m. local. As Tsitsipas fought his way back into the match, he forced two break points on Murray’s serve at 2-1, only for the three-time Slam champion to save both.

Murray kept that lead going and gave himself three set points at 5-4. But after Tsitsipas saved one, Murray fell to the ground in pain as he stretched awkwardly for the ball. He let out a scream in the process, but recovered to serve out the set.

While Murray has played through to 4.05 a.m. at the Australian Open this year in his second round win over Thanasi Kokkinakis, the Merton curfew has halted other matches at SW19. The 2018 men’s semifinal between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal was suspended in the third set having started at 8 p.m. local while Nick Kyrgios’ clash with Ugo Humbert in 2021 also needed an extra day to see that through.

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