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Murray Hangs Tough Against Lopez; Raonic Up Next

New York, U.S.A.

Murray© Getty ImagesAndy Murray was tested in his third-round clash with Feliciano Lopez.

World No. 4 Andy Murray stayed alive in his quest to win a first major title, battling past Spain’s Feliciano Lopez 7-6(5), 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(4) on Saturday to reach the fourth round of the US Open in New York.

“The last few sets were tough,” Murray said. “I just played a little bit better at the end of the tie-breaks, a little bit more solid than him, and that was the difference.”

The Scot was riding a wave of momentum coming into Flushing Meadows, where he was runner-up in his first major final in 2008 (l. to Federer), having reached the Wimbledon final (l. to Federer) and won the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics (d. Federer). However, his resolve was severely tested against the 30th-seeded Lopez, who was out to record his first win in seven meetings with the Scot.

Murray appeared in control of the match after assuming a two-set lead. But the Dunblane native twice squandered a break advantage in the third set, allowing Lopez back into contention and the Madrid native pounced to force a fourth set. In the 68-minute fourth set, Murray teetered before steadying himself in the decisive tie-break to claim the hard-fought win.

“I think he served well. He went for big second serves,” said Murray. “I wasn't getting as much depth on my returns because of that. Conditions can play a part in it as well. It was lively, quick conditions. His serve was bouncing off the court a lot. It can be tough to control the returns… Sometimes you just have to find a way to get through. I did that today.” 

The 25-year-old Murray has been denied in four Grand Slam finals, counting two Australian Open final defeats alongside his disappointments in New York and Wimbledon. The right-hander moves on with his campaign with a fourth-round contest against Canada’s Milos Raonic.

The No. 15 seed dismissed American wild card James Blake 6-3, 6-0, 7-6(3) to reach the fourth round on his second appearance (2010). Raonic fired 29 aces and won 89 per cent of his first serve points. He broke Blake five times to clinch his second victory over the 32 year old, having also won their encounter in San Jose last year en route to lifting his first ATP World Tour trophy.

Raonic equalled his best Grand Slam showing, following a fourth-round run at the 2011 Australian Open (l. to Ferrer) as a qualifier. Coming into Flushing Meadows, the 21 year old advanced to back-to-back quarter-finals at the ATP World Tour Masters events in Toronto and Cincinnati.

The 16th-ranked Raonic won his only meeting with Murray, taking their Barcelona quarter-final clash earlier this season.

“If I'm serving well, I'm hitting my spots, it's about making him feel as uncomfortable as possible,” said Raonic. “If I serve well, that's sort of what sort of happens. It's a ripple effect.”

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