ATP Mutua Madrid Open: Andy Murray needs third-set tie-break to beat Gilles Simon
Last Updated: 10/05/13 9:48am
Andy Murray: Was taken all the way by Gilles Simon in Madrid
Andy Murray survived a major scare to progress to the quarter-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open with a 2-6 6-4 7-6 (8-6) victory over Gilles Simon.
Murray, who will climb to No 2 in the world rankings following Roger Federer's defeat earlier on Thursday, endured an nightmare start and was taken the full distance before completing the win at 1.15am local time.
In a repeat of the 2008 final third seed Murray, who has never progressed beyond the last eight since the tournament moved onto clay, got off to the worst possible start as he dropped his opening service game.
He was also broken in his third service game as Simon cruised into a comfortable lead and easily saw out the first set.
The British No 1's woes continued as Simon again broke in Murray's first service game of the second set with an assured smash.
But this time Murray responded, breaking back to level at 2-2 before holding his serve to go ahead in the second set for the first time.
The set then went with serve until the 12th game, where Murray struck on his fifth set point to break Simon and take the contest into a decider
Murray had the momentum at the start of the third and some scrambling offence in the second game saw the British No 1 gain an early break and surge into a 2-0 lead.
But Simon showed he still had some fight left by breaking back in the fifth game and the Frenchman just about held firm for the rest of the set to take things into a tie-break, where his resistance was finally broken.
Murray, who will face No 6 seed Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals, Murray admitted he struggled with the low bounce in his battle with Simon.
He told Sky Sports 4: "It's very different playing in the evening, the ball doesn't bounce particularly high. He was taking my time away and hitting close to the lines and making it very difficult.
"I managed to turn it around. I probably could have finished the third a bit quicker if I had taken some of my chances but he fought."
Of his last-eight clash with Berdych, Murray added: "I am just going to focus on recovering properly. By the time I am in bed it will be about 3.30, 4am so I need to focus on that and then worry about the match on Friday night."