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Wimbledon: Andy Murray survives early scare by coming back from a set down to beat James Duckworth

Andy Murray survives early scare by coming back from a set-down to beat James Duckworth 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to reach Wimbledon second round as Brit shows no signs of fitness problems shows

  • Andy Murray beats Australian James Duckworth in Wimbledon first round
  • The 35-year-old came out of a set-down to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 at Center Court
  • He seemed slightly bent, but managed to electrify the place with his effort
  • Murray’s clash at Center Court followed the triumph of compatriot Emma Raducanu
  • Click here for live updates as we take you through your first day at Wimbledon

The evening sun came out when Andy Murray first rose and it was the richest kind of twilight.

It is no longer the prime time, tea time product on the BBC and the theater of its greatest triumphs was initially only two-thirds full. Yet he still received a bigger ovation than the famous British teenager who was barely half his age and who had preceded him.

He and his metal hip faced an Australian who had just had surgery on the same joint and that looked like some sort of parity, although it wasn’t. Murray walked like a metal man, slightly bent, his back no longer straight. James Duckworth walked with brawny swagger and possessed a forehand like an Exocet missile.

Andy Murray defeated James Duckworth 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in the Wimbledon first round

Andy Murray defeated James Duckworth 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in the Wimbledon first round

Murray took on the unseeded Australian who won the first set at Center Court

Murray took on the unseeded Australian who won the first set at Center Court

However, these are the quiet days of Murray’s life. Here and now was why he went through the trial of a surgeon literally hammering on his hip three years ago, and although a stomach cramp has turned the last few weeks into a running medical bulletin, no quarter was spared, nothing half delivered.

His effort growl was comical at times. Those of a higher pitch approached the realm of lamentation. “Give me a break,” Murray seemed to say. Center Court loved this very human effort.

His back-to-front chase to collect a drop shot in the second game created tension. There were three in all, in the course of power.

His effort growl was comical at times, but loved by those in the Center Court

His effort growl was comical at times, but loved by those in the Center Court

Murray's back-to-front chase to collect a drop shot sparked momentum in the venue

Murray’s back-to-front chase to collect a drop shot sparked momentum in the venue

Duckworth recently had surgery on his hip — the same joint as the 35-year-old

Duckworth recently had surgery on his hip — the same joint as the 35-year-old

His breakout to 2-2 in the first set prompted the theater’s old collective to push for ‘Let’s go’. But it was just as danger began to surface for Murray, a set-down and 2-2, that a collection of superb theater at break-point gave him a game that quickly delivered the second set.

The cross-court cut deep into the baseline and let the track do the work, and that gave Murray that crucial point and it wasn’t the only time. His body may not have always been so willing, but the touch and the anticipation were very present here.

He picked up the pace to keep his opponent off balance. The drop shot also served him exceptionally well throughout the night. One of them had just secured a break in the third game of the third set when Murray spotted Duckworth deep behind the baseline to receive the under-arms and serve out. A lob and smash followed to win that run. There was bewilderment. ‘Again!’ someone shouted.

The Brit stepped up the pace to keep his opponent unbalanced throughout the match

The Brit stepped up the pace to keep his opponent unbalanced throughout the match

It was the day this court gave us the first profile of the parent of a new British star. Emma Raducanu’s mother Renee was featured prominently on her daughter’s broadcast. To the last, the Murray entourage followed him. Judy Murray was as steadfast and inscrutable as ever.

74 in the world Duckworth was more challenging than expected sending 133mph serves and Murray’s old angular returns, taking advantage of the ball’s tempo, were often apparent. But it was the touch of the foundation – two backhand half volleys – that gave the break for 4-1 in the second set.

Also at 5-1, the 30-year-old Duckworth did not offer easy points. Murray shook his head as another faded past him into the growing darkness. But he served out for the third set.

Emma Raducanu's mother Renee featured prominently in her daughter's broadcast

Emma Raducanu’s mother Renee featured prominently in her daughter’s broadcast

Meanwhile, Judy Murray was as steadfast and unfathomable as ever on Center Court

Meanwhile, Judy Murray was as steadfast and unfathomable as ever on Center Court

Duckworth wanted to close the roof after falling twice in the third set and asked the race director to speak about the fading natural light. He seemed dissatisfied when his wish was not immediately granted.

But the ten-minute break for the roof was not timed well for Murray. The Australian recovered things when they returned. But two double faults gave Murray the break and he served out for a shot in the second round.

There will be a challenge there, against great evasive American John Isner, who took down 54 aces in a five-set win over France’s Enzo Couacaud. But the way Murray slammed through the air and let out a scream of delight last night tells us he’s not done yet.

“I’m a bit confused now and I don’t know how many opportunities I have left, so I have to make the most of the opportunities I get,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be back here in a few days.”

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