Top seed Andy Murray won his 10th straight match at Wimbledon after a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory over 28th seed Fabio Fognini. The Brit was a point away three separate times from being forced to a fifth set, but rallied to win the last five games to clinch an entertaining victory over the charismatic Italian.
The start couldn’t have been better for Murray. After an opening hold, he reached 0-30 on the Fognini serve, but the Italian was able to hold. Instinctive net play from the Brit saw him erase a 15-30 deficit and in the sixth game he broke courtesy of four forehand errors from Fognini to take a 4-2 lead.
After staving off another break point to move within one game of the set, he was gifted a second break to close out the set, the 28th seed donating his serve with consecutive double faults from 0-30.
The second set would take an immediate turn in favor of the Italian. A pair of double faults by the defending champion brought up break point for Fognini, saved on the first attempt, but a brilliant backhand followed by an equally stunning slice off the same wing securing the early advantage.
Murray would break straight back and Fognini would get a warning for smashing his racket, but he would regain his equilibrium with a break in the fifth game for a 3-2 lead. His shotmaking and power mean Murray can only muster a weak backhand and that would prove to be enough, the Italian not really troubled on his remaining service games in the set and he built a 40-0 lead to hold three set points. A limp forehand from Murray gives the 28th seed the set and the match was level at one set all.
The third set resembled the first as Murray raced to a 2-1 lead and at 15-40 in the fourth game and after Fognini saved the first break point with a drop shot, but a badly shanked mishit gives the top seed a 3-1 lead.
After calling for the trainer, the 28th seed looked to be letting go of the rest of the set. Broken to love to fall behind 5-1, the Italian put up a fight as Murray attempted to serve out the set, getting to 30-30, but a big serve and a netted return wrapped up the set and put the top seed in a two sets to one advantage.
The fourth set saw Fognini with the first chance, ahead 2-1, 0-30, but after three straight points won by Murray, the Italian goes off, given a code violation for an obscenity resulting in the game for Murray. It wasn’t long before the 28th seed was in front, a first break point saved by a missed return, but the break and subsequent lead was handed to Fognini courtesy of a Murray double fault.
A hold to love brought Fognini to within a game of forcing a fifth set and he head two chances to wrap things up on Murray’s next service game. Two outstanding serves down the middle save both break chances and power Murray to a hold.
With two more set points at 40-15 now serving, Fognini’s drop volley on the first wasn’t good enough and an attempted challenge on the second was denied as the 28th seed had none left, resulting in the loss of the point. That turned the game around as Murray would get back on serve after a netted drop shot.
After saving a fifth set point to hold, Murray would break after a long baseline rally on break point saw Fognini miss yet another return and suddenly, Murray won four game on the trot. Now serving for the match, Murray got to match point at 40-0 and an ace saw the Brit through to the Round of 16, an epic comeback in the fourth set sealing his place on Monday to face flashy Frenchman Benoit Paire.