Andy Murray was put to the test by Paolo Lorenzi in the third round of the US Open on Saturday, needing four sets to book his spot in the fourth round.
He will next face No. 22 seed Grigor Dimitrov for the tenth time (Murray leads their Head2Head rivalry 6-3).
“He’s a very good player,” Murray said of his next opponent. “He does a lot of things well on the court.
“He has good feel, moves well… It will be another tough one in a couple of days’ time. I expect it to be very hard.
“I’ll be ready for that. I’ll need to play better than today if I want to win that.”
The Dunblane native reached the Round of 16 at a major for the 23rd consecutive tournament (DNP 2013 Roland Garros) after topping the 34-year-old Italian 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.
Murray was one of three Brits in the third round of the US Open (also Daniel Evans, Kyle Edmund), the first time this has happened since 1968.
In the first set, Lorenzi broke Murray for a 5-4 lead, marking just the second time the 2012 champion had been broken in the tournament.
But an unforced error from the World No. 40 in the following game gave the second seed the break back.
The Scot gained momentum and a mini-break in the eventual tie-break and went on to grab the first set after exactly one hour.
The pair traded breaks early in the second set, and the Italian, appearing in the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time, went on to break again for a 4-2 lead.
But a 42-shot rally ending in Murray ’s favour earned the Scot two break points to get back on serve.
One chance was all it took as Lorenzi sent a backhand into the net.
Up 6-5, Lorenzi benefited from a forehand error from Murray, grabbing the second set 7-5 to level the match.
In the third and fourth sets, it was one-way traffic for Murray, who sealed victory with the help of 60 winners after three hours and 16 minutes.
“I expected a tough match. I expected long rallies. I’m just disappointed with the amount of errors I made.
“I was quite impatient at times. That cost me in the first and second sets.
“I worked it out, won, got through, and I didn’t play well. So I’m happy with that.”
In other men’s draw, No. 3 seed Stan Wawrinka survived a scare against Great Britain’s Dan Evans.
He saved a match point in the fourth set tiebreak during a 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(6), 7-6(8), 6-2 battle that took four hours and two minutes.
“It’s always good to win by saving match point,” said Wawrinka. “It’s always something special, that’s for sure.
“It was a great atmosphere again today on that court, tough condition.
“There’s many thing I can look at my game because it wasn’t the best game.
“But I think he also deserve the credit to make me play not my best because he was playing well.
“He was changing a lot. He’s really talented. So was tough battle and I’m happy to get through.”
Wawrinka will face Illya Marchenko in the next round after the Ukrainian advanced after his Australian opponent Nick Kyrgios retired when he was two-sets-to-one down.
Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro continued his fine form to defeat Spain’s David Ferrer 7-6(3), 6-2, 6-3.
He will play Austria’s Dominic Thiem in the last 16 after he came back from a slow start to overcome Pablo Carreno Busta 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.
World No. 2 Andy Murray was not at his best, trying to force the game against Paolo Lorenzi, but he emerged victorious 76(4) 57 62 63 to move into round four.
He will meet Grigor Dimitrov there after the Bulgarian defeated Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.
Kei Nishikori and Ivo Karlovic make up the rest of the men’s round of 16 after wins against Nicolas Mahut and Jared Donaldson respectively.
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