Tennis

Andy Murray, pictured, trailed Radek Stepanek by two sets to one when play was called off for the night in France.

Andy Murray hoping to complete comeback when play resumes against Radek Stepanek

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Andy Murray will resume his first-round match against Radek Stepanek at the French Open on Tuesday looking to complete another epic grand slam comeback .

The world number two was regarded by many as the second favourite for the title heading into the tournament but he looked anything but as he dropped the opening two sets to 37-year-old qualifier Stepanek.

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Murray has recovered to win from two sets down eight times in his career and he must do so again after play was called off for the night at 9.22pm with Stepanek leading 6-3 6-3 0-6 2-4.

It was after 7pm when the players took to the court following a lengthy rain delay earlier in the day, and conditions were damp and heavy.

Stepanek, who is bidding to become the oldest player to win a grand slam match since Jimmy Connors in 1992, revels in making life difficult for his opponent and it was not long before Murray was chuntering away.

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A double fault gave Stepanek the early break in the third game, and Murray netted a routine forehand to hand the Czech the set.

The Scot's temper reached volcanic levels and he was given a warning for swearing after Stepanek held for 4-3 in the second set.

It was not the sort of performance Murray would have hoped to give after responding to former coach Amelie Mauresmo's comments about his on-court behaviour by claiming he had made improvements.

Murray, who had been an early break up, then netted another easy forehand to trail 5-3 and an unreturnable serve put Stepanek on the brink of an enormous shock.

With the light fading, Murray knew there was no time to waste and he raced through the third set, yelling encouragement to himself after virtually every point.

Stepanek received a warning for time wasting following a complaint from Murray but it did not disrupt the Scot's rhythm and he extended his run of games to nine before the Czech held.

After Stepanek held again to make it 4-2, conditions were deemed too dark, leaving Murray facing a very important service game when play resumes.

Two British players are through to the second round, with Heather Watson and Kyle Edmund both producing battling victories.

American Nicole Gibbs was a point away from leading 3-1 in the deciding set when rain forced her match with Watson to be postponed overnight on Sunday.

But Watson won all five games on the resumption to triumph 5-7 6-2 6-2.

Edmund is through to the second round for the second year in a row following a 7-6 (7/4) 6-7 (9/7) 7-5 6-1 win over qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili but there was defeat on her debut for Naomi Broady.

Three more British players will play their first-round matches on Tuesday, with 20th seed Johanna Konta playing Julia Goerges, Laura Robson taking on 28th seed Andrea Petkovic and Aljaz Bedene facing Gerard Melzer.

Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams and nine-time champion Rafael Nadal also begin their campaigns.

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Topics:
Tennis
French Open
Andy Murray

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