Andy Murray overcame a shaky start and indeed a shaky end to advance into the third round with a 7-6(3), 6-4, 7-5 victory over Italy's Simone Bolelli. When the Scot no.4 seed played French qualifier Eric Prodon two days ago he cut a frustrated figure. Unable to find any rhythm, he huffed and puffed his way through the match and afterwards described the tennis as scrappy despite only dropping eight games.
This time around Murray was able to find the pattern he had long desired in the previous match thanks to the long, hard-hitting baseline rallies served up by his no.126 world ranked opponent, but it took him a fair while to finally get over the line - two hours, 51 minutes to be precise.
Bolelli may have slid down the world ranking ladder of late, but just two years ago he stood at no.36, so he was always going to prove a dangerous floater, particularly on his favoured clay. The 25-year-old lucky loser had also given Murray a testing match during their previous meeting on the red stuff in 2009 at the ATP 1000 Masters tournament in Madrid, which the Scot won 7-6 (9), 6-4.
This afternoon it was the Italian's aggressive baseline play that gave him the initial edge in an opening set peppered with breaks as both men struggled to hold serve in blustery conditions. At 3-5 Murray was serving to stay in the set but managed to hold, reverse his fortunes and secure two set points, only for those to pass him by. Come the tie-break however, and Bolelli began fraying around the edges. An error-strewn performance on the part of the Italian made life easy for Murray, who claimed the set with a blistering backhand winner.
The Scotsman, who had never lost to a lucky loser in seven previous meetings, tucked the second set safely under his belt but again struggled in the third. As the ominous, overcast skies around Philippe Chatrier began to darken, so did Murray's mood and before long his trademark tuts, sighs and head-shakes returned.
To make matters worse, the no. 4 seed was broken at 3-4, but he wasted no time in breaking straight back and at 5-5 a lucky net-cord help earn him another breakpoint, which he converted after the Italian netted. The Scot promptly served out the match to book a third round place where he will face either Arnaud Clement or Michael Berrer.