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Andy Murray claims first top-10 win of 2021 with victory over Hurkacz
The Scot played some brilliant tennis to set up a clash with Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in the second round in Vienna
As he battled himself in recent weeks, losing a number of matches he might have won after fine performances, Andy Murray said he wanted to make better decisions on court.
The former world No 1 vowed to keep going, trusting he would find a way to get it done if he continued to give himself opportunities, even with a metal hip. And on Monday, he he was true to his word as he clinched a hard-earned 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 win over Hubert Hurkacz, the world No 10, in the first round of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna.
“It’s a good feeling,” Murray said. “It was a very tight match, could have gone either way. I had some chances in the second set, didn’t get it. Third set, I was a break down, thankfully I managed to get the break back in the next game and from there I probably deserved to get over the line. It was a good win in difficult circumstances.”
It was a very tight match, could have gone either wayAndy Murray
It was a brilliant display from Murray, whose ranking has fallen to 156 but whose game has been far better than that in recent weeks, only to be narrowly beaten on many occasions by the best players, notably at the US Open, where he took Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in the first round only to come off second best. Hurkacz beat Murray twice in Cincinnati and Metz but the Scot gained his revenge in style.
Next round : Alcaraz – Murray
It was far from easy, though, as Hurkacz saved a match point in the second-set tiebreak to force a decider and then, when Murray served for the match at 5-3 in the third, he had a break point only for the Scot to shut the door with an ace to set up a clash with Carlos Alcaraz, a repeat of their match in Indian Wells recently, which Murray won.
The first set was nip and tuck as Murray forced a couple of break points only for Hurkacz, who beat Roger Federer to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon in the summer, to save them. But Murray saved break points of his own and then got the vital break for 5-4 before holding to take the opening set.
Murray misses match point in second set but bounces back to win
Hurkacz upped his serving game in the second set, keeping Murray largely at bay. The Scot saved himself from 0-40 at 2-3 but the Pole dug deep himself in the next game as he stayed ahead. Murray had more chances at 3-3 when he forced 15-40 but couldn’t take them and the set headed to a tiebreak.
Murray led 2-0 and 3-2 with mini-breaks but Hurkacz hit back to lead 5-4. Two good volleys from Murray took him to match point but Hurkacz saved it with a brilliant backhand up the line and then took the tiebreak to force a decider.
The 34-year-old Murray could easily have gone away, the disappointment of not closing it out in two sets hitting hard, but the former world No 1 stayed strong, despite falling an early break down.
He retrieved the break immediately and then broke again and when he served for the match at 5-3, he came from 0-30 down and then saved a break point, finally clinching victory on his third match point with an ace out wide.