Andy Murray is fighting back at French Open against Radek Stepanek

Andy Murray
Murray's serve was broken four times in the first two sets
French Open
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 22 May to 5 June
Coverage: Live radio and text commentary on selected matches on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, the BBC Sport website and app.

Andy Murray was digging deep to avoid a shock first-round loss to veteran Radek Stepanek when their French Open match was suspended because of bad light.

World number two Murray, who beat Novak Djokovic to win the Italian Open in his last match, lost the first two sets to the 37-year-old Czech qualifier.

The Briton won the third set and was ahead 4-2 in the fourth when the duo were called off at 20:22 BST.

Stepanek leads 6-3 6-3 0-6 2-4, with the match resuming at 11:30 on Tuesday.

  • Murray has not lost in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament since the 2008 Australian Open
  • Murray has recovered to win from two sets down eight times in his career

Murray was on the back foot from the start of the match, which began after 18:00 following a lengthy rain delay.

The 29-year-old lost his serve in the third game of the first set and was broken again in the ninth as Stepanek, the oldest player in the draw, drew upon his vast experience.

The second seed broke to love to start the second set but then immediately lost his own serve.

Stepanek, ranked 127 in the world, then broke again at 4-3 to carve out a two-set lead.

Murray, though, showed his resolve and raced through the third set in just 18 minutes as former world number eight Stepanek began to lose his way in the fading light.

Stepanek, a Wimbledon quarter-finalist in 2006, seemed to be stalling for time and received a warning after taking a toilet break and then changing his shirt.

It did not disrupt Murray's rhythm and the Scot, shouting encouragement to himself after almost every point, extended his run of games to nine before the Czech held his serve.

The British number one was next to serve and seemed well placed to force a decider when play was called off for the evening.

Murray is bidding to join fellow Britons Kyle Edmund and Heather Watson in the second round, while compatriots Johanna Konta, Laura Robson and Aljaz Bedene are due to start their campaigns on Tuesday.


BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller:

"Lacking timing - and looking a shadow of the player who had produced such dominant tennis in Rome two weeks ago - Murray found himself two sets down to Stepanek in no time at all.

"The 37-year-old Stepanek, with three qualifying wins under his belt, adapted to the slow conditions superbly, and only by winning 10 of the last 12 games of the night did Murray drag himself back into the match.

"Murray will have to start so much better on the resumption, as Stepanek is likely to pose a serious threat after a good night's sleep and with nothing to lose."

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