Andy Murray applauds the fans as he leaves the court on day four of the 2023 Wimbledon Championships. Alamy Stock Photo
as it stands

Andy Murray Centre Court classic curtailed by curfew at Wimbledon

Earlier, in the biggest shock of the tournament so far, fourth seed Casper Ruud crashed out at the hands of British wild card Liam Broady in five sets.

Updated at 23.09

ANDY MURRAY was within touching distance of the Wimbledon third round on Thursday when he opened up a two sets to one lead over world number five Stefanos Tsitsipas while Stan Wawrinka set up a tasty clash with Novak Djokovic.

British two-time champion Murray lost the first set of a high-class contest but roared back to lead 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 when the Centre Court duel was halted just before the All England Club curfew of 11pm.

The suspension came at the right moment for the 36-year-old as he fell and hurt his left groin, leaving him screaming in pain.

However, he picked himself up to serve out the third set and will be in the ascendancy when the match resumes on Friday.

In the biggest shock of the tournament so far, fourth seed Casper Ruud crashed out at the hands of British wild card Liam Broady in five sets.

Defending women’s champion Elena Rybakina reached the last 32 with a 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) win against French veteran Alize Cornet despite an error-strewn display.

On a day when the rain stayed away from the All England Club, all eyes were on Centre Court for the late clash between Murray and Tsitsipas, played under the roof.

Murray won the 2013 and 2016 Wimbledon titles but it was the first time the Greek had played on Centre Court.

Britain’s former world number one, who plays with a metal hip, is rolling back the years as he seeks to reach the second week of a major for the first time since 2017.

Both players found their serving groove quickly, with just a single break point carved out in the first two sets.

Tsitsipas drew first blood in the high-class contest, winning the first-set tie-break, but Murray rallied to level the match as the clock ticked past two hours.

Galvanized by a partisan home crowd, the Scot broke Tstsipas to love in the first game of the third set which proved enough for the edge in the tie.

- Match pile-up -

Significant rainfall earlier in the week meant there was still a clutch of first-round matches on Thursday, including Alexander Zverev’s 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/5) win against Dutch qualifier Gijs Brouwer.

The chaos means that while men’s defending champion Djokovic played his second-round match on Wednesday, top seed Carlos Alcaraz must wait until Friday.

Djokovic, chasing a record-equalling eighth men’s title, will next face Switzerland’s Wawrinka, who beat Argentine 29th seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Wawrinka, 38, has won three Grand Slams but he has suffered a series of injury problems in recent years and has slipped to 88th in the rankings.

He has won just six of 26 matches against Serbia’s Djokovic but has beaten him in two Grand Slam finals.

“I will enjoy it if I don’t get killed,” Wawrinka joked. “Novak is an amazing champion. I am happy to get the chance to play him on grass before I finish my career.”

- Dream win -

Britain’s Broady delighted home fans by coming through his match against French Open finalist Ruud 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 to set up a third-round match against Canadian 26th seed Denis Shapovalov.

The world number 142 soaked up the the applause, saying his win had helped him conquer his demons and realise a dream.

“I played on Court One in the finals of the juniors (in 2011),” he said. “I was a set and a break up. I completely choked it, completely guffed it.

“That has kind of haunted me my entire career, to be honest.”

Kazakh third seed Rybakina won the first set against Cornet without too much trouble but was forced to battle hard in the second.

She eventually held serve after a gruelling 11th game featuring 12 deuces, during which Cornet needed medical treatment after an agonising fall, going on to win the tie-break.

Men’s seventh seed Andrey Rublev beat Russian compatriot Aslan Karatsev in four sets while 2021 finalist Matteo Berrettini also progressed.

US 10th seed Frances Tiafoe cruised past Swiss qualifier Dominic Stricker and will play 21st seed Grigor Dimitrov next.

American Tommy Paul saw off the challenge of former finalist Milos Raonic but US ninth seed Taylor Fritz was knocked out by Sweden’s Mikael Ymer, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

There were also wins for Ukrainian wildcard Elina Svitolina and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka.

American qualifier Sofia Kenin followed up her shock win against compatriot Coco Gauff by defeating China’s Wang Xinyu in straight sets while French fifth seed Caroline Garcia also progressed.

Polish 17th seed Hubert Hurkacz, who beat Roger Federer in the quarter-finals in 2021, saw off British wildcard Jan Choinski 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).

 – © AFP 2023 

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