By Ros Satar

  • Andy Murray [PR] def. James Duckworth [WC] 6-3 6-4
  • Faces No. 4 seed Daniil Medvedev next
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – Andy Murray made an emotional return to Brisbane, with a straight sets win over Aussie wildcard James Duckworth, to face Daniil Medvedev in the second round.

 

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Andy Murray [PR] def. James Duckworth [WC] 6-3 6-4

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After calling time on his season in Shenzhen having played just a handful of matches on his comeback, all eyes were on Andy Murray and his limbs as he faced James Duckworth once more. Murray had been up against the Aussie, who has had his own share of injury woes, in his opener at the US Open – keeping the Brit out there for four sets.

While Duckworth can certainly rip returns and winners, and handled himself well over the first five games, Murray was the first to break but Duckworth played up to the home crowd, pegging the Brit straight back. Murray came out on top of the trade of three breaks in a row, serving out the first set to love.

Duckworth was the first to try and exert pressure in the second set, forcing Murray to be at his defensive best, saving four break points, before deflecting one of his own later in a competitive second set. When Murray did strike, it was swift and decisive with a break to love, before taking the match on his second match point.

With his voice cracking slightly as he talked about the toil to get back to this point, Murray joins three of the four Brits who have already been in action this week, with just No. 3 seed Kyle Edmund to get into the fray on Wednesday.

 

He said: “I was a bit nervous (before the match). But as the match went on I thought I moved well,” he said.

“It’s my first match after a big break. It’s not easy to sum up (how difficult it has been to return). It’s been really hard the last 18 months, been a lot of ups and downs trying to get back on court.

“Being back now I am trying to enjoy it as much as I can, for as long as I can because I am not sure how much longer I have got.”

 

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Murray v Daniil Medvedev [4] | First Meeting

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There is not much time for the Brit to dwell on how far he has come since this time last year, as he is up against the No. 4 seed Daniil Medvedev. Murray could find that hip being put under more pressure – Medvedev could spend all day rallying from the baseline and has an unorthodox looking forehand that can be challenging to deal with.

His backhand is also a solid shot and can mix up pace, angles and slice, so Murray will have to be quite nimble.

We saw some encouraging sprints but also at times gingerly walking back to the line, so it is not easy to understand where Murray’s fitness is at right now. Medvedev’s movement may not quite be up to peak Murray standards that we are used to – but then we are not quite there yet with Murray himself.

Still, Murray’s experience and variety should be enough to get him through, but it might be more of a battle than he would want.

Prediction: Murray in three sets.

Murray & Medvedev are scheduled on Pat Rafter Arena, not before 7pm (9am GMT).

 

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