Tennis: Adrian Mannarino made Andy Murray run for US Open comeback win

Andy Murray reacts after winning a point against Adrian Mannarino during their second round match at the US Open in New York on Sept 3, 2015.
Andy Murray reacts after winning a point against Adrian Mannarino during their second round match at the US Open in New York on Sept 3, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

Andy Murray flirted with defeat for an hour and a half on Day Four of the US Open before coming back from two sets down to beat the French world No. 35 Adrian Mannarino for a place in the third round.

Murray won 5-7, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 in three hours and 17 minutes in the sweltering bowl of the Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the courtside thermometer hit 34 deg C late in the afternoon, even in the shade created by the new roof. It was virtually windless because of the overhanging addition to the stadium but both players suffered from humidity that sapped energy and drenched clothing.

"It was extremely tough," Murray said afterwards. "He hits the ball very, very flat. He has fantastic timing off both sides and very short backswings. It's very difficult to read where he's going to hit the ball and I was leaving the ball a little bit short at the beginning. He was making me do all the running.

"Thankfully, in the third set, I managed to grab a break point. I had a number in the second set and the first set, but he was serving really well on some of the break points and I was missing a few returns."

Mannarino, who could barely keep pace with Murray in their only previous meeting, at Indian Wells, rose to the challenge with two sets of intelligent, unorthodox tennis, the drop shot his weapon of greatest torment. His backswing confounded Murray in several exchanges before the Scot slowly worked his way back into the match.

Murray's serve, so potent in the first round against Nick Kyrgios, got him out of trouble several times but his opponent was alive to almost every opportunity and broke three times from seven opportunities to take the first two sets.

The world No. 3, who had looked despondent and distracted on occasion, came to life in the third, and raced to a 5-1 lead inside half an hour, wrapping it up to love on his own serve. From there until the end, he remained focused as Mannarino wilted. He plays the Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci on Saturday.

There was a more consistently upbeat mood among British fans on Court 17 earlier, when Johanna Konta beat the ninth seed and 2015 Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza 7-6, 6-7, 6-2 in three hours and 23 minutes, the longest match in the women's draw so far.

It was Konta's 15th win in a row since losing to Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon and she moves to within 100 ranking points of the British No. 1 Heather Watson, who went out in the first round.

Konta, who will face the 18th seed, Andrea Petkovic, on Saturday, said: "I'm very tired right now but it's a good tired because it just shows that I left everything out there."

Asked what got her over the line, she said: "Definitely mental strength more than anything, because I think tennis level comes and goes. We don't have as much control over that as we would like. I was able to stay tough when I needed to and stay calm when I needed to."

As for the heat? "I had a thought out there: would it be really embarrassing if I just toppled over here?" she said. "It's difficult, with sweating buckets. After changing my clothes, I mean, they weighed a lot. But we deal with it as best we can; it was the same for her and the same for a lot of players playing out there at this time."

On the same court immediately afterwards, Aljaz Bedene had plenty of chances against Donald Young but the American made more of his, converting nine of 16 break points, to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in two hours and 42 minutes.