His 6-7, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 victory over hard-hitting Martin Klizan of Slovakia had one or two moments of the old magic, but there were far more expletives and curses during Murray’s 3 hours 34 minutes on court, to the extent that commentators on ITV4 felt the need to apologise.
Victory means he faces Juan Martin Del Potro – the man he beat so valiantly in the Olympic final in Rio last summer – for a place in the fourth round here, perhaps a timely reminder of happier days.
But the world no. 1 will undoubtedly have to play better than he did here.
This week he has clearly been taking gentle steps back to form after suffering mental and physical problems at the start of the clay court season.
Andy Murray is through to the French Open third round
Martin Klizan won the first set 7-6
Klizan, the world no. 50, was hitting leftie forehands at him at more than 100mph but not with any predictable direction and ordinarily Murray would have just let the storm blow out before picking him off.
But Murray moaned at his box throughout about his movement, off-court distractions and anything else – really, a worrying sign that he is still not focused on playing the sort of winning tennis he will need going forward if he is to keep hold of his top ranking position.
A double fault towards the end of a first-set tie-break made his life longer and more difficult than it really needed to be.
Even when he responded with two back-to-back 6-2 wins, he allowed himself to be broken again at the start of the fourth by a player clearly having problems with his long-term calf injury.
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Andy Murray admitted prior to the French Open that he is not playing at his best
With his first serve deserting him, though, even when Murray fought hard to break back he needed all his guile to cement that break.
Against the Klizan serve, however, he was showing his truer colours – pulling out shots and running down balls to set himself up for a break point, only to fail to put away a simple backhand volley.
The Slovak, on the other hand, had been using drop shots to greater and greater effect, cleverly disguised by all those monstrous forehands.
Murray made it to the tie-break, though, courtesy of a rediscovered first serve in the shape of three aces.
Enough was enough. The Brit dug deep, kept his composure and, encouraged by the crowd, finally finished off Klizan with the sort of brilliant full-stretch volley that gives you hope that the Murray of 2016 is still in there somewhere.