London - Andy Murray survived a scare at Wimbledon on Friday but eventually overcame volatile Italian Fabio Fognini in four sets with a dramatic surge to dig himself out of trouble.
The British defending champion triumphed 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 on Centre Court, winning five consecutive games in the fourth set and saving five set points to book himself a spot in the fourth round.
Murray struggled to find his rhythm throughout the match or read what was his third unpredictable opponent in a row after Alexander Bublik and Dustin Brown.
The world number one faces France's unseeded Benoit Paire on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals.
"I served it out really well to finish. But it was a very up and down match. I didn't feel like it was the best tennis at times. It was a little bit tense but I managed to get through," Murray said.
"It's obviously difficult when you're playing a guy who has all of the shots like him. He generates power with very short swings. It's difficult to see when he's going to hit the ball big. He was taking me out of my rhythm.
"It was also getting dark towards the end. We would probably had to have come off and closed the roof had I lost that fourth set so you're thinking a little bit about that as well, a change of conditions and a 20-minute break to think about things before playing a fifth set. So obviously pleased to get off in four."
Murray had been struggling with a hip problem before Wimbledon but insisted it had not flared up and hampered him during his third round match with 28th seed Fognini.
"I feel ok. I didn't feel like I moved as well as I did in the first couple of matches but I've got a couple of days' break now where I can work on that and hopefully get myself in a good rhythm over the weekend and come out and play some good tennis on Monday," he said.
"I'm happy to get through the first week and anything can happen from now."
Fognini was docked a point for obscene behaviour. After losing a point, Fognini responded by sucking on his finger.
It was deemed an obscene gesture by umpire Damien Dumusois and, having already been warned for abuse of his racket, Fognini was docked a point and lost the game.
Fognini, one of the more combustible players on the tour, already owns the record for the biggest single fine in Wimbledon history after being penalised $27,500 in 2014.
"He won. That's sport. But it's OK," said Fognini.
"Right now I don't feel really happy but I'm really happy about my performance, my tennis."
Wimbledon results on Friday, the fifth day of the 2017 championships at the All England Club (x denotes seeding):
Andy Murray (GBR x1) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x28) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5
Benot Paire (FRA) bt Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 6-2, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3
Kevin Anderson (RSA) bt Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 7-6 (7/3)
Rafael Nadal (ESP x4) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS x30) 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3)
Gilles Muller (LUX x16) bt Aljaz Bedene (GBR) 7-6 (7/4), 7-5, 6-4
Roberto Bautista (ESP x18) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN x9) 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-3
Marin Cilic (CRO x7) bt Steve Johnson (USA x26) 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4
Suspended due to darkness:
Sam Querrey (USA x24) leads Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x12) 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 1-6, 6-5
Ana Konjuh (CRO x27) bt Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x8) 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-4
Venus Williams (USA x10) bt Naomi Osaka (JPN) 7-6 (7/3), 6-4
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x13) bt Camila Giorgi (ITA) 7-5, 7-5
Elina Svitolina (UKR x4) bt Carina Witthoeft (GER) 6-1, 7-5
Johanna Konta (GBR x6) bt Maria Sakkari (GRE) 6-4, 6-1
Caroline Garcia (FRA x21) bt Madison Brengle (USA) 6-4, 6-3
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) bt Heather Watson (GBR) 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
Simona Halep (ROM x2) bt Peng Shuai (CHN) 6-4, 7-6 (9/7)