Andy Murray got through a tense encounter against the world No. 173 to progress to the quarterfinals at the Surbiton Trophy, after a bizarre delay to their match over technical issues.
Murray and his opponent, China’s Bu Yunchaokete, were ready to go on Center Court but were made to wait for seven to eight minutes due to a Wifi failure which stopped the umpire from operating the scoring system.
They were circumstances befitting of this tiny tennis club, which occurred on a suburban street in south west London, where the buzz of school children in a playground could be heard over the fence during points. But once the match began Murray had to dig deep against an unknown, young opponent, and it took two hours and 14 minutes to dispatch him 7-6(1), 6-4.
“I’ve been in those kinds of situations before, but I’ve not done the five minute warm-up and then had a break like that before,” Murray said after the delay. “It’s happened a few times this year, with the electronic line calling I saw it happen in Indian Wells a bit. There’s been a few issues. That’s what can happen when you become too reliant on technology.”
Beyond the technical problems, Murray had his hands full with 21-year-old Yunchaokete. The Chinese player has never played above the ATP’s Challenger level and this was the first time he had ever faced a player ranked in the top 50 – not to mention his first senior match on grass.
He did not look awed by the occasion of playing a former world No. 1 though and Murray, 36, did his best to make a meal of things too. He looked to be cruising from 4-2 up in the first set, as he had been for his first-round win on Monday, but Yunchaokete’s physical baseline game began troubling him.
After wasting a couple of set points, Murray was dragged into a tiebreaker, which he dominated. The second set was a similarly testy affair and Murray was heard chuntering around the court in frustration, saying “ruining my game”, as he was time and again pushed to deuce.
But he held his lead after breaking Yunchaokete in the seventh game and was solid in the home straight, serving it out to love thanks to an ace down the T.
“The match became closer than it might need to be if I’d taken one of those chances earlier on,” Murray said. “I played a brilliant tiebreaker but there were times in the match that were frustrating. I feel like my consistency on important moments was as good as I wanted.”
He plays fifth seed Jason Kubler in the quarterfinals on Friday.