Murray struggles past Lopez
Andy Murray survived a near four-hour epic against Spain's Feliciano Lopez to reach the fourth round of the US Open in sweltering conditions in New York.
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The third seed has a great record against Lopez but this match was tight from the start and Murray looked in trouble in the fourth set as he began to struggle in the heat.
But he hung tough and eventually edged his third tie-break of the match to come through 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (7/5) 4-6 7-6 (7/4) and set up a last-16 clash with Milos Raonic, who beat James Blake.
Murray said: "It was a very, very tough match. I just had to keep fighting. It was very hot and humid in the middle part of the match and I was struggling a little bit with that. But I thought we played some good tennis, especially at the end of the sets."
The Scot prides himself on being one of the fittest players on tour but he admitted playing at the Olympics, which denied him the chance to train in hot conditions, was having an effect.
Murray suffered with cramp in his first-round win over Alex Bogomolov despite it being straight sets, and he said: "Physically I'd like to be in slightly better form but these matches help with that.
"Normally after Wimbledon I have three weeks in Miami to help with this but I didn't get that because of the Olympics. But it's a nice problem to have, that's for sure.
"It's the first couple of matches I've played in this heat and humidity for a while so it's been tough."
This was a repeat of a third-round match from last year, which Murray won, as he had on each of the other five occasions in which they had met.
In that match, the 25-year-old had won the first 14 points, but today he was a little error prone early on and gave up three break points in the third game.
He saved them all, though, one with the help of HawkEye, but Lopez was playing well and more than holding his own.
Both players seemed to be playing within themselves, the heat perhaps a factor, but in the 10th game Murray upped his level and created three set points only for Lopez to save them all with some impressive serving.
In the next game it was Lopez who piled on the pressure, forcing two break points, but Murray responded in kind with a couple of searing backhands.
Serve continued to dominate in the tie-break until the 11th point, when Lopez hit a forehand long and Murray made sure this time he took his chance to win it 7-5.
It was far from the straightforward match many had expected, mostly because of good play from Lopez, but Murray stepped things up with an immediate break at the start of the second.
But it was still a struggle, and even more so when he threw in his poorest game of the match to be broken to love and pegged back to 3-3.
Lopez had a sniff at 5-4 when he got to deuce on the Murray serve, and the Spaniard was furious when he was not allowed to challenge a serve, with the umpire deeming he had played the point.
That fired up the 30th seed, and the crowd, even more, and the majority of a packed Louis Armstrong Stadium roared when Lopez grabbed the first mini-break of the tie-break to lead 2-1.
But the Spaniard gave back the advantage with a wayward forehand for 5-4 and the turnaround was complete when Murray made it four points in a row.
It was an awfully long way back for Lopez now, especially as he had played for more than four hours in the heat two days ago to beat countryman Pablo Andujar.
And the 30-year-old did not help his cause with a double fault to go down a break right at the start of the third set, only for Murray to hand it straight back, smacking his racquet to the court in frustration.
Another double fault from Lopez then gave Murray a 4-2 lead, but once again he dropped his serve straight away, a habit that has cost the Scot in previous matches.
And, when he next stepped out to serve, it was Murray who seemed to be struggling to keep his feet moving, and Lopez pounced, letting out a roar and leaping into the air.
That left the 30th seed serving for the set, and he took it when Murray hit a forehand long.
Lopez had won only one set against Murray in all their previous meetings but he certainly had more energy about him than his opponent and forced a break point in the first game of the fourth set, but this time the third seed staved off the threat.
Murray was looking worryingly spent physically, barely running for some shots. He dug himself out of another hole in the fifth game and then had two chances of his own to move 5-3 ahead but both times Lopez came up with faultless serve-volley combinations.
It was tight and extremely tense, and Murray was on the rack again at break point down in the 11th game, but came through a titanic 23-shot rally to just about hold on.
The third tie-break of the match was just as close as the first two but Murray made the decisive move with a brilliant backhand pass to lead 6-4, and took his first chance when Lopez netted an attempted drop shot after three hours and 53 minutes.