Andy Murray was on the brink of a third straight early loss Monday night in Washington. Facing Mackenzie McDonald, Murray was down a set and a break point late in the second before recovering to win 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 in 2 hours, 37 minutes.
Murray led early with a break but fell apart allowing the American to string together a run of games to take the opener. He settled down in the second then in the third served for it a 5-4, but couldn’t do the job. After McDonald clipped the net on a putaway at the net, Murray broke then served it out.
“It was a tough, tough match,” Murray said. “It could have gone either way. Obviously if you lose a match like that, it’s a tough one. When I lost to Gabashvili here, I lost serving for the match, so I was thinking about that a little bit, too. It is just nice to get through.
“I wasn’t dictating many of the points. I wasn’t hitting the ball that cleanly. I just fought and tried to make it tough for him,” Murray said. “Made a few little adjustments here and there. But mentally, it was a big one to get through.
Murray was playing his first hard court match since 2017 Indian Wells while McDonald, who was a UCLA standout, made the fourth round at Wimbledon.
“I think I cut the unforced errors down. I started to serve a little bit better. I started off the match serving very poorly. I was struggling on my serve and didn’t feel like I had much rhythm,” Murray said. “I haven’t played in the darkness or under the lights in a very long time and I felt like my rhythm was off on serve, my timing a little bit. That started to get a bit better as the match went on, so that helped… I made a few less mistakes, but I would like to play better tennis in the next match.”
The win sets Murray up with a battle against countryman Kyle Edmund in the second round.
On a rainy start to Monday, Americans Noah Rubin and Tim Smyczek were winners. Stan Wawrinka’s first round match was forced to Tuesday.
Also today, defending champion Alexander Zverev opens play against Malek Jaziri.
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