The head-to-head matchup between Andy Murray and Feliciano Lopez was decidedly in the Scot’s favor before heading into today’s match, with Murray enjoying a 6-0 advantage. It was nearly a year ago to the day that these two last met, in the 3rd round of the 2011 US Open. At the time, the only thing overshadowing Murray’s impressive win over Lopez was his mother Judy dubbing her son’s opponent ‘Deliciano’, in reference to his good looks.
One year later, Murray and ‘Deliciano’ fought in a much closer and more competitive battle. En route to reaching the 4th round of the US Open, Murray was forced to play 3 tiebreakers and drop a set to the crafty Spaniard. At the end of the nearly 4 hour match, only 8 points separated the two, with Lopez actually converting on more break points than Murray. The Spaniard was also impressive at the net, winning 37 points to Murray’s 20.
In the end though, Murray had the stronger serve which helped him gain the upper hand on all three of the tiebreaks. The reigning Olympic gold medalist faltered a bit after winning the first two sets 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5), allowing Lopez to get back in the match and win the 3rd set 6-4. By the 4th set things had tightened up again and the pair battled it out to reach 6-6. A few untimely unforced errors from Lopez’s end gave Murray his 3rd tiebreak win of the evening and the match as well. In the end the final score read 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-4).
Murray will be relieved to make it through here as a few more unforced errors from his side could have resulted in a completely different match outcome. As it stands though, he will play either rising star Milos Raonic or seasoned veteran James Blake in the 4th round.