Andy Murray beats Ivo Karlovic in Wimbledon second round

WIMBLEDON

  • Venue: All England Club, London
  • Date: 25 June - 8 July

Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC HD Channel, red button, BBC Radio 5 live, mobiles, tablet and the BBC Sport website

Andy Murray negotiated the threat of big-serving Ivo Karlovic to reach the third round of Wimbledon.

The fourth seed had won all three of their previous meetings but this was the first on grass and 6ft 10in Karlovic tested Murray throughout.

But the Scot responded well to dropping the second set and stayed strong in the fourth to win 7-5 6-7 (7-5) 6-2 7-6 (7-4) in over three hours on Centre Court.

He will play Marcos Baghdatis, who beat Grigor Dimitrov, on Saturday.

Analysis

Murray's always very good at making his opponent play a lot of balls on their serve. That's a priority against Karlovic because it is almost as if he's playing two first serves. It's uncomfortable, you feel a lot of it is out of your control. He's serving second serves at 120 mph.

The balance on Murray's serve was good, he kept his first-serve percentage high, and though he lost his serve from 40-0 in the first game he didn't lose it after that. It was efficient, if not necessarily pretty. It's certainly not the best he's ever played, but he'll just be relieved to get through and with Baghdatis he'll be able to get some rhythm, and be able to control the match a lot more.

"Winning is all that's important when you're playing a guy with his style," Murray told BBC Sport. "It's so challenging to get into a rhythm.

"Tie-breaks are a bit of a lottery with someone like Karlovic. You have to get your racquet on returns and hope he makes a mistake.

"I was seeing the ball fairly well on the return, I was hitting it cleanly on the forehand and I came up with good passing shots at the right time."

Murray looked imperious in his thashing of Nikolay Davydenko on Tuesday but knew this would be a far tougher assignment.

With a game tailor-made for this surface, Karlovic stunned defending champion Lleyton Hewitt 10 years ago and reached the quarter-finals in 2009.

The world number 59 signalled his intent by battling from 40-0 down in the opening game to strike at the first time of asking.

Match stats

Karlovic Murray

17

Aces

11

61%

First serves

61%

83%

First serve points won

85%

45%

Second serve points won

67%

9

Double faults

6

58

Winners

43

42

Unforced errors

8

1/1

Break points

4/7

121

Total pts won

142

Murray had spoken about the importance of holding serve against a player who would offer few chances on his own delivery - yet he managed to hit straight back with three passing shots and some fine defence.

That brought the crowd to life and seemed to relax both men, Karlovic flicking a magical half-volley past Murray at the net before Murray returned the favour.

But the Briton's superior return game soon told and when a backhand winner gave him a third set point at 6-5, Karlovic hit a double-fault.

Murray was getting an average of 0.571 seconds to react to Karlovic serves and his ability to deal with them waned in the second set.

That said, the Croat was making little impact on the impressive Murray delivery and the second set would have to be decided by a tie-break.

Karlovic's accuracy forced Murray to take risks and after the world number four put a forehand wide to fall 6-5 behind, his opponent levelled the match with a deft volley.

As Karlovic roared in the direction of his support team, Murray sat down and gesticulated to himself throughout the changeover.

Match analysis

"That was a solid effort from Murray. Maybe he didn't play the best he could, but he did it when he had to. That's a tough one for him to get through. That ages you - maybe not physically but emotionally. Whatever amount he gets paid for winning that match, he deserves it."

But roles were reversed at the start of the third set as Murray broke in game one with a lob that left Karlovic throwing his racquet in frustration.

Murray's movement and variety was now far too good for a dejected-looking Karlovic and he calmly put himself back on course for victory.

While neither player seriously threatened the other in the fourth set, there was danger for Murray at 5-6 and 15-40.

However, he served his way out of trouble and yelled "come on!" while pumping his fists as another tie-break beckoned.

The tension was palpable at 4-4 only for Karlovic to produce an untimely double-fault to help Murray wrap up an encouraging victory.

Wimbledon 2012: Andy Murray - winning is all that matters