Andy Murray made a strong statement in his Indian Wells rolling past the dangerous lefty Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-2 in the first round Friday night.
Murray, a former finalist at the event in 2009, last played Indian Wells in 2017.
“It’s been four years since I was last here. I think it’s one of the best places to play tennis on Tour,” Murray said in his on-court interview. “It’s been a tough road to get back and it was so nice that so many people managed to come out and support today. I really enjoyed it.”
Murray will next meet Spanish teen Carlos Alcaraz in maybe the best match of the second round on Sunday.
“I think Alcaraz is really, really good,” Murray said. “I think he’s got a good chance at it.”
As the men’s first round closed in the desert, it was a nice day for Americans who went 4-2. Jenson Brooksby, Brandon Nakashima, Chris Eubanks and Ernesto Escobedo were winners.
Kevin Anderson, Emil Ruusuvuori and Jan-Lennard Struff also got through.
Saturday sees the start of play from the seeds, and today will feature US Open champion Daniil Medvedev taking on former UCLA star Mackenzie McDonald.
“I have motivation, I came here prepared,” Medvedev said earlier in the week. “We can’t know before the tournament what the result is going to be but even if I lose second round here, it is nothing to do with the motivation. It is because of the opponent or that I was not playing that well. I am going to play a few tournaments for the rest of the year and I am going to try my best and win them.”
Medvedev, the tournament favorite, is just 3-3 lifetime at the event.
Anrey Rublev, Denis Shapovalov are also featured. In two good matches, Diego Schwartzman will meet the net-rushing Maxime Cressy and Sebastian Korda collides with Frances Tiafoe.
Reilly Opelka, Grigor Dimitrov, Aslan Karatsev, Casper Ruud are also in action.
SATURDAY INDIAN WELLS SCHEDULE
STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
ATP – T. Daniel (JPN) vs  R. Opelka (USA)
ATP –  S. Korda (USA) vs F. Tiafoe (USA)
WTA – Not Before 3:00 PM – C. Garcia (FRA) vs  C. Gauff (USA)
ATP – Not Before 6:00 pm –  D. Medvedev (RUS) vs M. McDonald (USA)
WTA – Not Before 8:00 PM – A. Riske (USA) vs  B. Andreescu (CAN)
STADIUM 2 start 11:00 am
WTA – A. Tomljanovic (AUS) vs  G. Muguruza (ESP)
WTA –  K. Pliskova (CZE) vs [Q] M. Frech (POL)
ATP –  D. Shapovalov (CAN) vs V. Pospisil (CAN)
WTA – Not Before 6:00 PM – V. Golubic (SUI) vs  M. Sakkari (GRE)
ATP –  A. Rublev (RUS) vs C. Taberner (ESP)
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