Andy Murray rallies to take first-round victory at BNP Paribas Open
Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray remained unbeaten this season in matches that go to a deciding third or fifth set by coming back to beat Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4 across more than three hours in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday.
Murray, a 35-year-old who has an artificial hip, faced a pair of break points while serving at 15-40 and already trailing 4-3 in the final set. Convert either of those chances, and Etcheverry would have served for the victory.
But 2009 Indian Wells runner-up Murray managed to hold there, beginning a three-game, match-ending run against Etcheverry, a 21-year-old from Argentina who is ranked 61st after reaching the final of a tournament in Santiago, Chile, last week.
So far in 2023, Murray is 5-0 in best-of-three-set matches that last three sets, along with 2-0 in best-of-five matches that go five. He is 0-3 in contests that conclude earlier.
Roger Federer is retired, Rafael Nadal is hurt and out of Indian Wells, and now Novak Djokovic is also out. Star power is missing. Who will step up?
Another man who owns three major titles, Stan Wawrinka, made a successful return to the hard-court tournament in the California desert after four years away, beating qualifier Aleksandar Vukic 6-4, 1-6, 6-1.
Wawrinka, a 37-year-old who has been ranked as high as No. 3 and is now No. 100 after a series of operations to his left foot and left knee, hit 10 aces and won 28 of 33 first-serve points. His previous match in Indian Wells was a loss to Swiss Davis Cup teammate Roger Federer in the third round in 2019.
Wawrinka will face No. 26 seed Miomir Kecmanovic in the second round at the first Masters 1000 tournament of the season.
Dominic Thiem, who won the Indian Wells title in 2019 and the U.S. Open a year later, was scheduled for first-round action later on Day 2.
Emma Raducanu, who won the 2021 U.S. Open as a teenage qualifier, was back on court Thursday for the first time since January after having tonsillitis, and fell behind 2-0 in each set during what would become a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Danka Kovinic.
Another 20-year-old, Ben Shelton, trailed 2-0 at the outset against Fabio Fognini before taking 12 of the last 15 games to win 6-4, 6-1. Shelton, the 2022 NCAA singles champion at the University of Florida who hadn’t won a match since reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals, will take on No. 4 seed and defending champion Taylor Fritz next.
Fognini was warned for an audible obscenity and for taking too much time getting ready to return serves; he also spiked a racket during the match but wasn’t cited by the chair umpire for that.
Thanasi Kokkinakis claimed 32 of 34 points he served in a 6-4, 6-1 victory over wild-card entry Brandon Holt to earn a matchup on Saturday against reigning U.S. Open champion and No. 1 seed Carlos Alcaraz.
Danielle Collins, the 2022 Australian Open runner-up, lost a second consecutive match against an opponent ranked outside the top 50, knocked out 6-4, 6-4 by 80th-ranked Dalma Galfi. Galif had lost in qualifying but moved into the main draw when someone withdrew. Collins delivered only nine winners while making 41 unforced errors.
Varvara Gracheva, who qualified for Indian Wells after reaching the final at Austin, Texas, last week, defeated Ysaline Bonaventure 6-2, 6-2; Katerina Siniakova beat Jule Niemeier 7-5, 6-4; and Jil Teichmann was a 6-1, 6-4 winner over Ashlyn Krueger.
In other results, Jack Draper overwhelmed qualifier Leandro Riedi 6-1, 6-1 to set up an all-British matchup against No. 24 Dan Evans; Mackenzie McDonald defeated Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 6-0; and Marton Fucsovics beat J.J. Wolf 1-6, 6-0, 6-3.
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