Andy Murray picked up one of his best wins since surgery toppling the teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in the second round Sunday at Indian Wells.
The former finalist started strong against the 18-year-old in the first, but the Spaniard with his heavy groundstrokes overpowered Murray to take the first.
Murray got up early again in the second and this time held on. In the decider, Alcaraz’s errors did him in, getting broken right away all but finished off the Spaniard.
“He’s obviously got so much potential, so much firepower and these conditions it’s not easy to finish points off quickly, but he’s able to because he has so much pace from the back of the court so I had to fight extremely hard, coming back from a set down,” Murray told the crowd. “I felt like in the second set he played maybe better. First set I felt like I had more of the opportunities but didn’t get it so yeah, happy with the way I fought. He’s a top-drawer young player.”
Murray even employed an underarm serve ace in the second set.
“If you look where he was standing at the beginning of the match to return the first serve in comparison,” said Murray. “He changed that at the end of the first set. He started returning from further back, so it was even harder to get free points on the serve.
“I thought if he’s going to stand that far back and I’m getting no love from the court and the conditions, why not try it and see if I can bring him forward a little bit again.”
Murray will now get another big test in Alexander Zverev. He beat the German at the start of his comeback in August 2020, but the the gold medalist is in fine form after dismissing Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
“Especially in the second set I didn’t see the ball well on [one] side of the court because of the sun,” Zverev said. “It wasn’t an easy match, but I’m happy to be through, I’m happy to be in the third round and playing Andy now.”
Murray leads Zverev 2-0 and the Scot will have a much-needed day off to prepare.
“I think he’s the only one of the Big Four I haven’t beaten yet,” Zverev added. “So I hope I can change that. I think it’s incredible how well he’s moving and incredible how well he’s playing. I think he’s very motivated so I hope I can show my best tennis.”
Stefanos Tsitsipas opened his campaign beating Pedro Martinez. Matteo Berrettini, Gael Monfils, John Isner and Jannik Sinner also advanced.
Today, Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev return. Medvedev will meet Filip Krajinovic while Rublev draws American Tommy Paul.
Felix Auger-Aliassime slumped to Albert Ramos.
Denis Shapovalov also battles Aslan Karatsev, Reilly Opelka gets Grigor Dimitrov and Hubert Hurkacz faces Frances Tiafoe.
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