Former world number one Andy Murray made it through another tough match on Thursday, rallying from a set down to beat Tomas Etcheverry and reach the second round of the Indian Wells WTA and ATP Masters 1000.
The Briton, who has made a habit of great escapes this year, needed three hours and 12 minutes to subdue the Argentinian 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-4.
“Some of the matches I’ve played this year I haven’t deserved to win all of them," said Murray, who won a five-setter lasting more than five hours at the Australian Open and in Doha last month overcame eight match points in four matches before falling to Daniil Medvedev in the final.
Thursday offered a bit less drama, but Murray, grinding back toward the top 40 after hip replacement surgery in 2019, had to fight off two break points in the eighth game of the third set.
He needed five chances to get the decisive break in the next game, finally converting when Etcheverry, riding high after reaching the final in Santiago last week, double-faulted.
They arrived at match point after three hours and nine minutes, Murray missing his first chance when his drop shot attempt spun wide. Three minutes later he polished it off with an ace.
Murray improved to 7-0 in decisive sets this year and booked a meeting with 15th-seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta.
After injuries threatened his career, Murray, owner of three Grand Slam titles and two Olympic gold medals, said he wants to enjoy the final act of his career.
“I really want to make the most of these last years that I’ve got," he said. “I want to keep going, I still feel extremely motivated."
Murray was one of a string of former Grand Slam winners in first-round action as the 32 men’s and women’s seeds — led by Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek — enjoyed byes.
Britain’s 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu rallied from a break down in each set to beat Danka Kovinic 6-2, 6-3, avenging a 2022 Australian Open second-round loss to the Montenegrin as she continued her fightback from various ailments that have slowed her 2023 campaign.
“I’m happy I stuck in," said Raducanu, who had shut down her 2022 season early with wrist trouble and hurt her ankle in her second match of 2023 in Auckland.
She pulled out of the WTA event in Austin last week with tonsillitis and withdrew from a pre-tournament exhibition here when her wrist trouble flared up.
But she said the litany of problems only made her more determined.
Kokkinakis to face Alcaraz
“I just love competing," Raducanu said. “I think having something that you are going through kind of gives you in some ways more incentive.
“Like, ‘OK ‘I’ve got to be aggressive or dominate — there’s something to really cling onto and use."
Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, with two knee and two foot surgeries behind him and now ranked 100th in the world, fired 17 winners in a 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 victory over Australian qualifier Aleksandar Vukic
Austria’s Dominic Thiem, the 2020 US Open winner who was sidelined eight months after a right wrist injury in 2021, took on France’s Adrian Mannarino in the night session — when 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens faced 2020 Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin.
In other matches Thursday, Australian qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis, ranked 94th in the world, booked a second-round clash with top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over US wild card Brandon Holt.
American Ben Shelton defeated Italian veteran Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-1 to set up a meeting with fourth-seeded defending champion Taylor Fritz.
Read all the Latest Sports News here(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed - AFP)