Andy Murray fought his way to a three-set win over Laurent Lokoli at the ATP Challenger Tour 175 event in Aix-en-Provence after his French opponent had saved five match points.
Murray won 6-4 5-7 6-3 as the second round tie at the Open Aix Provence Credit Agricole turned into a marathon affair lasting two hours and 42 minutes
The 35-year-old three-time major champion – ranked 52 in the world and 135 places higher than Lokoli – shaded a tight first set on the French clay.
It looked as if the fifth seed would make short work of the contest in the second set when he broke serve for a 5-2 lead.
But Murray failed to take two match points and Lokoli, who was animated and waved his arms in the air to rev up the home crowd, battled back to make it 5-4.
Another two match points came and went for Murray in the next game with Lokoli’s drop shots proving a powerful weapon against the Scot.
Lokoli soon took the second set with Murray unable to halt a five-game losing streak.
Both players served impressively in the deciding set until Murray applied the pressure and seized a third break point to lead 5-3.
Despite Lokoli producing a stunning forehand winner to save a fifth match point, Murray eventually wrapped up victory – much to his obvious relief.
It was the first time he had secured back-to-back wins since Indian Wells in March.
Having beaten Gael Monfils in the first round, Murray will face a third French player, Luca Van Assche, in the quarter-finals on Friday.