Andy Murray worked for more than two and a half hours to overcome Latvian Ernest Gulbis 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) for a fighting win into the quarterfinals of the Cincinnati Masters.
But the weary fourth seed, now winner of his last seven matches including the Toronto title at the weekend over Roger Federer, will have to make a recovery when he faces American Mardy Fish.
Federer received another huge break as he advanced by walkover as third round opponent Philipp Kohlschreiber retired before their match with a right shoulder injury.
Federer will on Friday play either Russian Nikolay Davydenko or number 10 David Ferrer of Spain. Fish booked his place in the last eight with minimal effort as he defeated Frenchman Richard Gasquet 7-5, 6-2 in little more than an hour.
Murray needed four match points to get past Gulbis after winning their first four matches and losing only one set from 11 played.
The Latvian drew first blood in hot mid-day conditions but was broken in the second set as Murray powered back.
But the third set was a battle of fitness for Murray, who lost an early break and eventually needed to dominate in the tiebreaker, which he led 6-1 before struggling to close it out.
“Obviously Murray is playing as good as anyone is right now,” said Fish. “He’s certainly one of the toughest out there is out here. But he’s favoured over me, so I’m in a good spot.” Murray admitted he was feeling the heat in the third set against Gulbis. The Latvian out-hit Murray 50 winners to 21 but also committed 42 unforced errors.
“I’m going to ask for a later match,” said the exhausted Murray.
“I’ve played seven matches in the heat of the day. I was struggling but I’ll be OK tomorrow.”
Keywords: Cincinnati Masters