US Open 2014: Andy Murray beats cramp to see off Robin Haase

US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York

Dates: 25 August-8 September Coverage: Live radio and text commentary on Andy Murray's matches, plus commentary every day from 18:00 or 18:30 BST on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

Andy Murray overcame a worrying bout of cramp to beat Dutchman Robin Haase in four sets and avoid a shock first-round exit at the US Open.

The Briton, seeded eighth, won 6-3 7-6 (8-6) 1-6 7-5 in three hours and eight minutes inside a sweltering Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Haase, the world number 70, had looked capable of handing the Scot his first opening-round defeat at a Grand Slam since 2008 when he won nine straight games.

But despite cramping, and choosing not to sit down at the changeovers, Murray twice recovered from a break down in a wildly unpredictable fourth set that saw both men ailing in the New York heat.

Murray goes on to face German qualifier Matthias Bachinger, who beat Radek Stepanek 6-3 6-2 6-2.

Match stats

Robin Haase Andy Murray

Match time: 3hr 8 min

16

Aces

8

6

Double faults

9

60

1st serve %

61

69

1st serve win %

60

42

2nd serve win %

51

61

Winners

47

52

Unforced errors

51

7/19

Break points won

6/13

"I started cramping at the beginning of the third set, at the front of my quad and then in my forearm," said Murray.

"It was not particularly comfortable and I just tried to hang around as long as possible and managed to get through.

"I was in a good position at 2-0 up but I didn't know whether to go for it at the beginning of the third set or conserve energy and go for it in the fourth.

"It wasn't easy for Robin either."

Murray had come back from two sets down to beat Haase at Flushing Meadows in 2011, a year after he had lost to Stan Wawrinka on the same court in what was his last Grand-Slam defeat before the quarter-final stage.

Andy Murray will next face German qualifier Matthias Bachinger in the second round

Murray came through a tough test and will face German qualifier Matthias Bachinger in the second round

There had been no reason to think there would be another significant instalment to the Murray story on a sultry opening afternoon, but an often bizarre match delivered plenty of drama.

A rash of double faults and missed first serves made it hard going for Murray in the opening two sets but when he eventually closed the second at the third attempt, it appeared the hard work was done.

That thought quickly disappeared in a worrying third set for the 2012 champion.

He was broken three times as cramp took hold and was left calling for ice - both to cool himself down and apply to the various parts of his body that were rebelling - as a fourth set loomed.

All was not well across the net, however, and, despite twice breaking serve, Haase was having his own issues and required treatment.

Murray could not follow suit as cramp is not a condition that allows for the trainer to be called, but the Scot managed to crunch away enough winners from effectively a standing position to get back into the set.

Every game felt as though it might be the last for either man, with only brief bursts of energy amid the labouring behind the baseline.

When Murray faced three break points while serving for the match, it still felt as though it might not be his day. But Haase could not convert and handed over the first match point as a relieved, exhausted world number nine staggered into round two.

Andy Murray

Murray began confidently, going two sets up on a sweltering hot day

Andy Murray

Cramp took hold and Murray was broken three times in the third set, losing 1-6

Robin Haase

Haase won nine straight games, but let a 5-3 lead slip in an unpredictable fourth set