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Andy Murray vs. Paolo Lorenzi: Score and Reaction from 2016 US Open

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2016

Andy Murray, of the United Kingdom, returns a shot to Paolo Lorenzi, of Italy, during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Associated Press

Second-seeded Andy Murray overcame a slow start Saturday to defeat Italy's Paolo Lorenzi 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 in the third round of the U.S. Open.

By virtue of the victory, Murray kept alive his quest to reach the final of all four Grand Slam events in 2016.

Murray struggled out of the gates and didn't appear to be in the type of form he displayed in winning Wimbledon and Olympic gold at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

With the opening set knotted at 4-4, Lorenzi broke Murray, which gave the underdog an opportunity to serve for a 1-0 lead. 

The three-time Grand Slam champion battled back to earn a break of his own and then outlasted Lorenzi 7-4 in the tiebreak, as seen in this video courtesy of U.S. Open Tennis:

US Open Tennis @usopen

.@andy_murray needed a tiebreak to do it, but he's got the first set against #Lorenzi on #Ashe. #usopen @MBUSA https://t.co/OC96puvs3e

Murray's play in the first set was erratic, and as Sam Edwards of BBC Sport pointed out, he was fortunate to come out on top considering how many mistakes he made:

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Sam Edwards @edwardssport

A huge twenty-eight (28!) unforced errors from Andy Murray & just 49% first serves in, but wins 1st set 7-6 v Lorenzi. Honking set. #USOpen

Simon Cambers of the Guardian observed that Murray may have been nursing an injury that could have impacted his performance in the early going:

Simon Cambers @scambers73

Andy Murray takes a scrappy first set 7-6 v Lorenzi, takes shirt off to reveal small bit of tape on his left shoulder

While Lorenzi could have easily gotten down after dropping the first set despite pushing Murray to his limits, the 34-year-old veteran continued to be a thorn in the 2012 U.S. Open champion's side.

By virtue of two breaks, Lorenzi rushed out to a 5-2 lead in the second set.

As Juan Jose Vallejo of Rolling Stone indicated, Murray was completely out of sorts when it came to his first serves:

Juan José Vallejo @jjvallejoa

Andy Murray serving 28% 1st serves in a set of professional tennis. That is...amazing.

Despite his struggles, Murray gritted his way back into the set with a break and a pair of holds to make it 5-5.

Lorenzi didn't allow the Murray comeback to deter him, though, as he held to go up 6-5 and then broke the Brit for the third time in the set to even the match:

US Open Tennis @usopen

Forza! Marathon man #Lorenzi fights his way to the 2nd set 7-5, knotting match with #Murray at one set all. #usopen https://t.co/vCXwwjCIrE

With regard to giving Murray so much trouble, Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times credited Lorenzi's all-out effort:

Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg

Paolo Lorenzi's unceasingly workmanlike approach has made quite a match of this. He takes the second set 7-5 over #2 Andy Murray. #USOpen

The momentum was in favor of Lorenzi entering the third set, but as Murray so often does, he flipped the script and started to play his best tennis of the match.

Murray quickly seized a 5-1 lead in the set powered by two breaks of Lorenzi's serve, but unlike his opponent in the second set, he didn't allow him to close the gap.

Following a Lorenzi hold, Murray nailed down a hold of his own to emphatically take the third set 6-2 and move closer to the fourth round.

That carried over into the fourth set for Murray, as he finished off Lorenzi, who expended a ton of energy chasing down Murray's shots with such vim and vigor in the first three sets.

Although Murray's performance was far from ideal, he overcame adversity and figured out a way to win despite not being on his A-game.

That should serve him well as he progresses in the tournament, but he has a huge challenge ahead in the form of 22nd-seeded Grigor Dimitrov. 

Murray owns a career record of 6-3 over Dimitrov, but the Bulgarian won their most recent meeting this year at the ATP World Masters in Miami on a hard court.

Dimitrov has been in decline since reaching a high ranking of No. 8 in 2014, but he is a talented and dangerous player with a Wimbledon semifinal appearance on his resume.

Murray was able to get away with a less than stellar showing against Lorenzi, but if his form from the first two sets manifests itself in the round of 16, he may not be so fortunate to get past Dimitrov.

   

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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