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Tsitsipas holds off Thiem to set up Murray meeting

It took two days, four hours and five sets to separate Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem at Wimbledon, and but for tiebreaks being introduced in recent years they might well still be playing.

Tsitsipas is currently ranked fifth in the world and Austrian Thiem 91st, but both have been as high as No.3. And had the latter not spent more than a year fighting and returning from injury he would be a lot higher.

Ultimately it was Tsitsipas who prevailed on Wednesday (British time), in a match of three tiebreakers 3-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (10-8), but the Greek has little time to celebrate.

On Thursday the 24-year-old faces two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray on his Centre Court home. Murray may have a metal hip, but he spent Wednesday taking it easy after reaching the second round on Tuesday.

“It was pretty stressful I won’t lie,” said Tsitsipas.

“Dominic is someone that has brought the best out of me every single time that we had the opportunity to play each other.”

Tsitsipas, who will make his Centre Court debut, said of facing Murray: “I’m not expecting anyone supporting [me]. It’s not my first rodeo.”

It is 10 years since the Scot first lifted the trophy in SW19, and Tsitsipas said: “I remember witnessing his first Wimbledon title. Thinking about it now gives me goosebumps because I sort of felt what he went through because it was so difficult for him to close that last game.

“Every time I see that again it gives me shivers. I’ll go into it with a lot of respect for him. He’s such a tough competitor. That (Centre Court) is almost like his living room.”

The pair have met twice previously – a five-set epic at the US Open in 2021 when the defeated Murray was upset at the length of the Greek’s toilet breaks, and in Stuttgart on grass last summer where Murray claimed one of his best wins since hip surgery.

Elsewhere it was a quiet day for the leading men.

In one of the few second round matches played Australia’s Jordan Thompson acquitted himself well against second seed Novak Djokovic on Centre Court, serving impressively and showing a nice touch around the net, but he lost 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.

Jannik Sinner, the Italian No.8 seed, is also into the third round after beating Diego Swartzmann of Argentina 7-5 6-1 6-2.

In first round action, third seed Daniil Medvedev overcame Arthur Fery 7-5 6-4 6-3 and was pleased with his reception after Russian players were banned last year due to the war on Ukraine.

“I was pretty nervous,” Medvedev said.

“Thank you for the nice welcome, especially against Arthur, a British guy. It was amazing as I didn’t know what reception I would get and it was unbelievable.”

Danish sixth seed Holger Rune sailed into the second round for the first time with a straight sets victory over another British wildcard George Loffhagen.

No.9 seed Taylor Fritz battled past Yannick Hanfmann of Germany in five sets while fellow American Frances Tiafoe, the No.10 seed, eased past China’s Wu Yibing.

The Wimbledon debutant had beaten Nick Kyrgios in his only match this year in s’Hertogenbosch but found facing a fit top-level opponent on grass a harder task.

The highest-ranked player to fall was Croatian 13th seed Borna Coric who suffered a shock loss to Argentina’s Guido Pella in a five-set match lasting three-and-a-half hours.

-AAP

Topics: Wimbledon
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