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.

Zizou Bergs earned a wildcard for Wimbledon and a grand slam main draw debut by beating Jack Sock in the Ilkley Trophy final on Sunday.

Named after Zinedine Zidane – the France, Juventus and Real Madrid football great who goes by the nickname 'Zizou' – Belgian Bergs has established his sporting career in tennis.

Bergs, 23, is ranked a lowly 207th by the ATP and had to come through qualifying to play in the Ilkley event, a Challenger Tour tournament in Yorkshire.

Former world number eight Sock stood in his way in the final, but Bergs secured a 7-6 (9-7) 2-6 7-6 (8-6) victory over the American.

His father Koen Bergs wrote on Twitter: "Yesssssss. The tournament director announced during the ceremony the official reward of the WC for @Wimbledon main draw. History is made."

His triumphant son added on Instagram: "WIMBLEDON MAIN DRAW WILDCARD!! Whuuuutttt"

Bergs completes the list of men's singles wildcards, featuring alongside five British players plus Dutchman Tim van Rijthoven and Swiss three-time grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka.

Wimbledon begins on June 27 at the All England Club in south-west London.

Andy Murray missed out on a place in the Surbiton Trophy final when American Denis Kudla denied the three-time grand slam champion on Saturday.

Murray had won their one previous match emphatically on a hard court in San Diego last year, and he had early control of the semi-final this time at the Challenger Tour event.

However, Murray could not force a second-set breakthrough and lost the tie-break on the way to a 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 defeat.

The Scot, a title winner at Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016, served 15 aces to Kudla's 12. Murray won just 45 per cent of points on his second serve, though, an area where he will hope to improve as the grass season progresses.

He heads to Stuttgart next week before playing at Queen's Club in the run-up to Wimbledon.

World number 81 Kudla, who reached the third round at Wimbledon last year before losing to Novak Djokovic, said: "This is definitely, probably, the biggest win of my career.

"The conditions were super windy, but in the warm-up I felt I was hitting the ball clean."

Kudla will face Australian Jordan Thompson in Sunday's final and added: "There's something about England and grass, I just feel comfortable and at ease. I feel like a different tennis player after being terrible on clay for two months."

Dominic Thiem's bad luck continued as the former world number three confirmed he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Thiem only made his return to action on Tuesday, having not featured on the ATP Tour since June last year.

The Austrian underwent surgery on a wrist injury that kept him out of Wimbledon and also prevented him from defending his US Open title, while he also missed this year's Australian Open.

Having opted to push back his comeback further by skipping Indian Wells and the Miami Open, Thiem instead decided to play at the Challenger Tour's Andalucia Open.

His return was short-lived, as Thiem went down 6-3 6-4 to Pedro Cachin.

And Thiem will now face another spell out, after revealing he has contracted coronavirus.

"Looks like lately the good news don't last long... last night after dinner, I started feeling unwell and didn't have a good night," Thiem wrote on his official Instagram account.

"After developing mild symptoms I decided to take a test this morning, which came back positive for COVID-19.

"Now I have to wait and see how it develops. I'll keep you posted. Thank you all in advance for your support!"

Former US Open champion Dominic Thiem made his long-awaited return from a wrist injury on Tuesday, but lost 3-6 4-6 to Pedro Cachin at an ATP Challenger event in Marbella.

Thiem, the former world number three who hasn't played since 2021, started slowly and fell 5-0 behind in the first set against the world number 228.

He improved in the second set but was not able to recover from dropping serve in the first game.

"Obviously, the result today is the bitter part," Thiem posted on his Instagram. "I would have wanted to win, and I have to accept the defeat in a humble manner.

"This is only the beginning of a long way to the top of my game."

The next generation of tennis players are not close to knocking world number one Novak Djokovic off his mantle, according to three-time grand slam winner Andy Murray.

Djokovic’s big-match experience shined through while cruising to a straight-sets win over Russia’s Daniil Medvedev to seal his ninth Australian Open win and 18th career grand slam title.

The Serbian has lifted six of the last 10 slams, with 20-time slam-winner Rafael Nadal claiming three and Dominic Thiem capturing his first major honour at the 2020 US Open.

The draw opened up for the Austrian in Flushing Meadows when Djokovic was eliminated after defaulting in the fourth round when hitting a line judge with a stray ball.

Thiem is the only first-time winner of a major in the past 24 events over a six-year period, and Murray cannot see a changing of the guard anytime soon.

"The younger guys, for me, they've not shown that they're particularly close," Murray said.

"I expected the [Australian Open] final to be closer but it's a different standing to return or to serve in a grand slam final than a quarter-final or a semi.

"When you're coming up against someone who's won 17 of them, it's pretty intimidating.

"Obviously at the US Open, Dominic Thiem did what he had to do to win the event. But if Novak hadn't put a ball through the line judge's throat, it would have been the same outcome, I think."

Preparing for his first tour event of the season, an ATP 250 tournament in Montpellier, France, Murray has kept his distance from the grand-slam scene while rehabbing a long-term hip injury.

The 33-year-old admits he didn't even watch any of the action from Melbourne Park as he aims to rebuild his fitness and return to the highest level.

"I didn't watch any because I wanted to be there myself. It was a struggle to be honest," Murray added.

"I stopped following all the tennis players on social media and stuff because I just didn't really want to see it."

Murray goes up against world number 83 Egor Gerasimov of Belarus in the round of 32 on Tuesday, after finishing as runner-up to Ukraine's Illya Marchenko in an ATP Challenger event last week.

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