NEW YORK (Reuters) - Andy Murray made another of his trademark stirring fightbacks as the third-seeded Scot powered past Frenchman Adrian Mannarino after dropping the first two sets of their second round encounter at a sweltering U.S. Open on Thursday.
Murray, who looked befuddled early on, recovered to beat the left-hander 5-7 4-6 6-1 6-3 6-1 as he overcame a two-set deficit to record victory for the eighth time in his career.
The world number three finished off the extreme turnaround with his 21st ace to end the three hour, 17 minute match on an oppressive afternoon at the U.S. National Tennis Center.
The crafty Mannarino, ranked 35th despite having no ATP Tour titles to his credit, seemed to put Murray in a daze early on with a shifting variety of groundstrokes, drop shots and volleys at the net.
”I‘m proud of the way I fought,“ Murray told reporters. ”It was not an easy match to come through at all. He was making it extremely difficult for me.
“I thought he played some really, really good tennis. He has such an unorthodox game, I didn’t really feel that comfortable at many points out there in the match.”
The Briton did have several early opportunities but failed to cash in, converting only one-of-seven break points in the opening set.
However, Murray has survived enough of these type of tests to know not to panic.
“When you’re not playing your best, you find a way to come through matches like that. It can give you confidence. You feel a little bit like you’re fortunate to still be in the event and you’re a bit more relaxed going into the next matches,” he said.
“When you’ve done it in the past, you have the belief that you can come through and do it again. That definitely helped me here today,” Murray added in a raspy voice caused by a head cold.
Two sets down and with his back against the wall in the second-round match at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Murray snapped into focus and started to hit his strokes with piercing accuracy.
He ran the tiring Frenchman ragged in streaking through the remainder of the match, not allowing a single break point in the final three sets.
“You don’t always have the luxury of winning in straight sets,” said Murray. “Sometimes you have to fight through.”
Next up for Murray will be Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci, a 6-0 6-3 6-4 winner over Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.
Editing by John O'Brien