Andy Murray finds his rhythm to see off Max Purcell in Newport, but injury clouds return

Shahida Jacobs
Andy Murray pulls a face

It took Andy Murray a while to get going against Max Purcell’s “different game style”, but he eventually found a winning formula to defeat the Australian in three sets at the Hall of Fame Open.

Fresh from winning the Wimbledon men’s doubles title alongside fellow Australian Matt Ebden, Purcell stunned Murray in the opening set before the Scot pulled it back to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in two hours and 23 minutes.

After saving four break points in game two, Purcell broke in back-to-back games as he opened a 5-1 lead before Murray got one break back.

Coming out to serve for the set at 5-4, the world No 202 found himself 40-0 up, but Murray managed to save three set points and then had two break points before the Australian finally got the job done.

Purcell then had the early advantage in the second set again with a break in the opening game before Murray finally went up a gear as he won the final six games of the set, courtesy three breaks, to take it to the decider.

The Scot appeared to struggle with an injury in the second set and was limping heavily by the third set, but he still managed to get three breaks to close the match.

“He has a very different game style to a lot of the players on Tour nowadays,” the former world No 1 said. “He was using a lot of slice off of both sides, which is very rare. It took some time to get used to that way of playing.

“Then once I started to find my rhythm a little bit in the middle of the second set I was able to dictate points and push him around the court a little bit more, whereas in the first set I certainly wasn’t doing that.”

Up next is third seed Alexander Bublik in the last eight.