By Anita Stahl

  • Andy Murray defeated Carlos Alcaraz 5-7, 6-3, 6-2
  • Grueling conditions led Murray to serve underarm for the first time in career
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA, USA- Andy Murray is through to the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells after defeating No. 30 seed Carlos Alcaraz 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

 

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Andy Murray started strong, earning a quick 3-0 lead in the first set against Carlos Alcaraz, but the Spaniard found his footing in a critical hold in the fourth game where he saved four break points. The Spaniard went on to take the first set 7-5. Murray won the three hour match in three sets, for a final score of 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

Murray told press after the match, “It wasn’t easy out there today. Not easy conditions. Very hot. Court is incredibly slow. Balls after a couple of games are also extremely slow.”

The Stadium 2 court was exposed in the sun as temperatures in the shade climbed past 90 degrees/32 degrees. The court is also notoriously noisy, leading to a few tense moments when sounds from people gathering at the concession stands carried to the court and interrupted play.

The tough conditions compounded with the opponent’s tactics and pushed Murray to do something he had never tried on tour – an underarm serve.

Murray continued: “[Alcaraz] started returning from further back, so it was even harder to get free points on the serve. I thought if he’s going to stand that far back and I’m getting no love from the court and the conditions, why not try it and see if I can bring him forward a little bit again. Wasn’t expecting obviously to get an ace out of it.”

That was one of only three aces Murray got on the slow court.

Murray will face Alexander Zverev in the third round Tuesday. The Brit will look to continue is perfect record against the German, whom he has beaten in each of their three encounters.

Asked the significance of this past success going into the match, Murray pointed out that Zverev has improved since they last played in the 2020 Cincinnati Masters, but added, “I wasn’t physically feeling particularly good and did not play particularly well, but managed to win. From that perspective, I can gain confidence from that, that if I play a really good match I’ll be right in there with a shot.”

Fellow Brits Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie have already secured their spots in the third-round play Monday. Evans takes on Diego Schwartzman; Norrie is up against Roberto Bautista Agut.

 

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