Wimbledon: Frances Tiafoe shocks third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in opening day upset

Twice champion Andy Murray has survived a third-set meltdown to beat Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4 6-3 5-7 6-3 in his first singles match at Wimbledon for four years

Back on the hallowed Centre Court turf on which he made himself a British sporting icon, the 34-year-old delighted his fans as he rolled back the years, producing vintage shot-making to lead by two sets and 5-0 in the third.

But in a bizarre twist, he lost seven successive games to send the match into a fourth set.

An interruption while the Centre Court roof slid into place appeared to help settle Murray's nerves and he got the job done to set up a second-round against Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech or Germany's Oscar Otte - both qualifiers.

"I did well to win the fourth set in the end because that was mentally not easy going to the locker room after losing that third,"" Murray, who received a thunderous ovation at the conclusion from the 7,500 crowd, said on court.

"It was just disappointing to lose the third set. I had to remember what I was doing to get into a winning position. I think I served better in the fourth and turned it round."

Murray, the 2013 and 2016 champion, had not played a singles match at Wimbledon since he hobbled to a quarter-final defeat against American Sam Querrey in 2017.

That loss was the beginning of a dark chapter in Murray's career as he underwent hip surgery in 2018 and 2019.

The journey back has been a tortuous one and after missing the Australian Open because of a positive COVID-19 test and then suffering niggling injuries he arrived at Wimbledon with only five Tour-level matches under his belt this year.

Earlier, American Frances Tiafoe caused the first big upset of the Wimbledon  by beating third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 6-4 6-3.

Frances Tiafoe
Frances Tiafoe Photo credit: Image - Getty Images

Tsitsipas, playing his first match since his French Open final defeat by Novak Djokovic on June 13, was on the backfoot from the beginning against a 57th-ranked opponent who took the game to him.

The Greek also went out in the opening round on his last previous appearance at the grasscourt tournament in 2019, when he was seventh seed. Wimbledon was not played last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It sounds pretty damn good," Tiafoe told the cheering 6,000 strong Court One crowd, sheltered by a roof from the drizzle outside, as the result was read out.

"Definitely one of my best [matches]. From start to finish it was pretty clean.

"This is what you train for, this is what it's all about. I live for these kind of moments. If you'd seen me on the sidecourts you might have seen a different performance today but I love this... got to make something good happen."

Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas

Tiafoe broke serve in the opening game and it set the tone for a match in which Tsitsipas, who had said at the weekend that he was feeling more confident on grass, showed only occasional flashes of brilliance.

He failed to convert any of his six break points.

Tiafoe went 5-4 up in the second set, after Tsitsipas saved two break points, and held his nerve when the Greek had three chances to break back.

The American broke serve again at the start of the third set, saved two break points and then had three match points on Tsitsipas' serve to wrap things up in just over two hours. He did it on the third as Tsitsipas netted a backhand.

"I've made a ton of changes and I'm trying to just move the right way. Obviously I'm not even close to where I want to be," said the 23-year-old Tiafoe of his performances to date. "I haven't even scratched the surface.

"Today was big. I definitely needed that. That guy's special, he's going to do a lot of great things... but not today."

Tsitsipas still has the doubles to play with his younger brother Petros.

Tiafoe's next opponent will be Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena or Canadian Vasek Pospisil. 

Russia's Andrey Rublev, the fifth seed, advanced with a 4-6 6-4 6-1 6-2 victory over Federico Delbonis while Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut overcame John Millman 6-2 3-6 6-3 7-6(4).

Novak Djokovic's title defence began with the Serb losing the opening set against British wild card Jack Draper, but the world number one roared back to seal a 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2 win to reach the second round.