Andy Murray reaches a new milestone with battling Indian Wells win
Andy Murray showed all his famed fighting qualities as he shrugged off a nightmare first set to beat Taro Daniel and secure a major career milestone at Indian Wells.
Murray’s 1-6 6-2 6-4 win in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open, in which he also had to hit back from a break down in the deciding set, lifted him alongside Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in earning 700 tour-level victories.
The match marked Murray’s first appearance since confirming he is to link up with Ivan Lendl for a third time and the duo will have plenty to work on after a first set in which the Scot was distinctly second best.
“I’m old now so these 11am starts, it takes me a bit of time to get going,” Murray joked in his post-match interview. “But Taro played extremely well. He’s started the year very well.”
Murray had the first chance at a breakthrough as Daniel was forced to save two break points on his own serve before the qualifier hit back to assume full control.
As Daniel’s level waned at the start of the second set, Murray took full advantage to surge into a 5-0 lead and, although he was broken again before he belatedly wrapped it up to level, his display of emotion at the end spoke volumes.
Daniel was far from finished, rallying to move into a 2-0 lead in the decider, and, even when Murray broke back, the Japanese player had another break point to regain control.
But he missed his chance and was punished by Murray, who took advantage of his third match point opportunity to wrap up his historic victory and a second round meeting with Alexander Bublik.
“He’s a very unorthodox player,” added Murray. “He’s unbelievably talented, got great hand skills and plays different to a lot of guys on the tour these days. He started this year well, but if I play well, I’ve got a shot.”
Murray next faces 31st seed Alexander Bublik, with Murray winning both matches against the Kazakhstani player.
“He’s a very unorthodox player,” added Murray. “He’s unbelievably talented, got great hand skills and plays different to a lot of guys on the tour these days,” Murray previewed. “He started this year well, but if I play well, I’ve got a shot.”
Lendl was not in Murray’s box for this match, with the duo set to get together for a training block in Miami once the Indian Wells event has concluded.
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