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Britain's Murray Gets Sick, Guts Out 5-Set Victory
by Erin Gell
Tuesday, August 30, 2005

With the overcast skies, a rain delay seemed entirely possible. But a vomit delay?

That's what happened early Tuesday evening on the USTA National Tennis Center's Grandstand Court, when play was halted in the fifth set after Andy Murray unexpectedly had an upset stomach during a changeover in his first-round match against Romanian veteran Andrei Pavel.

Following the match, Murray blamed the incident on a pre-match sodium drink. "[The drink] is supposed to stop you from cramping," Murray said after the match. "It's got sodium and salt and everything in it. I just felt like I was going to burp, and then everything came up."

By the end of the night, however, Murray had gone from upset stomach to upsetting his opponent. In the first US Open main-draw match of his young career, No. 122 Murray defeated No. 39 Pavel 6-3, 3-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Though only 18, Murray knows what it's like to win at the US Open — he was last year's Boys 18 champion. But this year Murray is swimming with the big fish, and he's swimming upstream. He battled through three rounds of Qualifying last week, and now has to face former US Open quarterfinalist Arnaud Clement in the second round.

While Murray may be a US Open first-timer, Pavel was playing here for the ninth time. Last year he achieved his best Open result, reaching the round of 16. The Romanian's 2005 hard court season has been less than stellar, however, as he recorded just one match win all summer.

Murray began the match with a solid first set, appearing confident while pounding well-placed shots from behind the baseline.

In the second set, the momentum shifted, as Pavel varied his baseline rallies and added occasional drops shot to throw off Murray's rhythm.

Pavel continued rolling in the third set as Murray showed emotional fluctuation and frustration, giving the crowd fist pumps and encouraging cheers when he was on, shouting when he made mistakes.

But the young Brit stole the momentum back in the fourth. Though easily discouraged just minutes before, now every good point buoyed Murray's efforts and fired him up for the next ralley. The set passed quickly into Murray's hands, and he seemed poised to continue his rediscovered dominance in the fifth.

That's when the madness ensued. Murray started off strong, going up 2-1. But after the changeover, without warning, he vomited right in front of Pavel's chair.

After the clean-up delay, Pavel quickly won the next two games.

"[The delay] definitely helped [Pavel] more than it did me," Murray said. "I'd had a lot of momentum. I had just broken him, so I was pretty disappointed when I threw up. That's why I was angry when I was on the court. That stuff always makes me feel like that. Then obviously to take a break of like 15, 20 minutes when you're a break up in the fifth set is the last thing you want."

Murray's lull, however, didn't last long. A zinger down the line on the far side of the court was called out by the line judge, but was overruled by the chair umpire. Pavel exploded, accompanied by a chorus of boos from the crowd. When his rage continued during the next changeover, he was issued a point-penalty violation for unsportsmanlike conduct.

"I think he had a pretty bad go at the umpire, so I don't know if he deserved [the penalty] or not," Murray said. "I didn't hear exactly what he said, but he was having a go for the whole of the change of ends."

When Murray closed out the match soon after, a still-infuriated Pavel refused to shake the umpire's hand.

Murray now carries the hopes of a nation on his shoulders. With fellow Brits Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski losing earlier in the afternoon, Murray is the lone remaining hope for Old England.
:wavey: :worship:
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