It might not be his preferred match formula but Murray’s method of dropping the first set only to come from behind to win has seen him defeat Gilles Muller and progress to the Brisbane International 2012 quarterfinals.
Waiting for him is crowd favourite Marcos Baghdatis – his doubles partner this week – who managed an upset win against Japan’s No.1 player Kei Nishikori.
In front of a record Wednesday night session attendance of 5337 (and a record day-and-night combined Wednesday attendance of 13,436), Murray once again shook off a slow start to come from behind to win another long match.
After the match, Murray said it s not nervousness that has led to his slow match starts but concedes there will be more riding on his quarterfinal match against Baghdatis.
Subtle in comparison to his fluorescent coloured outfit was the strapping over Murray’s right knee – a reminder of the injury that plagued his first-round win against Mikhail Kukushkin.
Despite playing down the injury after his last match Murray still showed signs of soreness in his right knee as he struggled to find rhythm in the first set. Acknowledging the pain is still there, Murray said “it becomes easier with each match” and that he hopes to be fit for the opening rounds of the Australian Open.
Throughout the first set the pair showcased their big serving games, exchanging aces that consistently reached speeds over 200 kph. Muller showed he was not afraid to take advantage of Murray’s niggles, using expansive play to move Murray around the court and often bringing him into the net with well timed drop shots.
In a tight first set, Muller was the first to break serve, pinching the set from Murray with a late break to win 6-4. Always a vocal player, the Scotsman screamed his frustration after losing the first set while constantly glancing to his coaching staff for help.
Murray was off to a better start in the second, racking up a 2-0 lead after breaking Muller’s serve for the first time of the night. However, Muller managed to break back and with both players desperately holding serve, the set moved towards an inevitable tiebreak.
Unforced errors hurt Muller in the tiebreak, allowing Murray to put away the second set with some flashy no-look play. The tiebreak win proved to be the turning point in the match, which dashed Muller’s hopes of a straight-set win against the world No.4.
After such a tight battle in the second set, Murray was quick to keep the upper hand and steamrolled home in the third with an impressive 6-0 win to once again reel in a hard-fought match. Murray admitted the turning point of the match was a long rally during the tiebreak, “sometimes you need a big point like that to allow you to loosen up,” he said.