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Tsitsipas survives Thiem thriller to book Murray showdown at Wimbledon

Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas survived a thrilling five-set Wimbledon battle against Dominic Thiem on Wednesday to book a blockbuster second-round clash against two-time champion Andy Murray.

While Tsitsipas was pushed to the brink in a gruelling first-round tie lasting almost four hours, former world number one Murray is well rested after crushing Ryan Peniston in his tournament opener on Tuesday.

Tsitsipas held his nerve in a final set tie-break to secure a 3-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (10/8) victory.

“For a second I thought we were doing the repeat of Isner versus Mahut,” Tsitsipas said in reference to the longest match in history, played at Wimbledon in 2010.

“It felt forever. Obviously I’m super happy to win against someone who has brought the best out of me every time we have played.”

Beaten by Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final earlier this year before a last-eight exit at the French Open, Tsitsipas is aiming to make his first deep run at Wimbledon.

Tsitsipas reached the French Open final two years ago, making him the only Greek man to appear in a Grand Slam title match.

But the 24-year-old has been less comfortable on grass, reaching the fourth round only once in five previous visits to Wimbledon.

The crowd-pleasing Tsitsipas is usually popular with Wimbledon fans, but he knows he will not have much support against home favourite Murray.

“I’m not expecting anyone supporting me, but it’s not my first rodeo,” he said.

Tsitsipas, who will be playing on Centre Court for the first time, said he remembered Murray winning his first Wimbledon title in 2013.

“Obviously he is someone who has done so much for the sport,” he said.

Thiem won the US Open in 2020 but that triumph has not proved a springboard for sustained success at the Grand Slams.

The 29-year-old Austrian’s progress has been hampered by wrist and finger injuries, keeping him on the sidelines for several months and knocking him out of the top 350 in 2022.

Now ranked 91, Thiem was playing at Wimbledon for the first time since 2019 as he chased a first victory at the tournament for six years.

Rain forced the match to be postponed on Tuesday, with Thiem having taken the first set but 4-3 down in the second.

That set the stage for riveting drama on Court Two as the clash swung back and fourth before Tsitsipas finished it in fitting style with a blistering winner down the line.