Sports

Murray wins on return to hardcourt

Washington, Jul 31 (Agencies): | Publish Date: 7/30/2018 12:00:00 AM IST

An emotional Andy Murray made a triumphant return to hardcourts on Monday in his first match on the surface for nearly 17 months, outlasting Mackenzie McDonald at the ATP Tour’s Washington Open.

The three-time Grand Slam champion and former world number one, who missed 11 months with a right hip injury and surgery last January, defeated the 80th-ranked American 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Murray, who has fallen to 832nd in the rankings, needed seven match points to subdue McDonald, squandering five before being broken in the 10th game of the final set before breaking back and finally ending matters after two hours and 37 minutes.

“I fought hard and I had to,” Murray said.

“The movements and stuff were fine. I didn’t break down. It lasted pretty well.”

The 31-year-old Scotsman unleashed a primal scream and a right fist-pumping frenzy of joy after McDonald hit a forehand long on the final point.

“I enjoyed getting through that one. You could see it in the celebration,” Murray said.

“That was a tough match. It could have gone either way. It was nice to get it.”

Murray booked a second-round match on Wednesday against British fourth seed Kyle Edmund, who had an opening bye.

After making his return from January hip surgery last month at Queens and Eastbourne, Murray skipped Wimbledon and began preparing for the hardcourt campaign.

Murray’s first hardcourt match in nearly 17 months, delayed three hours by rain, turned when he broke in the penultimate game of the second set and again on his fifth break chance in the opening game of the third set.

Murray served for the match in the 10th game but squandered five match points, four of them on errors, and McDonald broke back to 5-5 when Murray netted a forehand to end the 12-minute game.

At 30-30 in the 11th game, McDonald stuck his racquet over the net to play the ball, losing the point on a violation quickly called by French umpire Arnaud Gabas. McDonald then hit a forehand long to give Murray another chance to serve for the match.

Murray, who surrendered four double faults and won only five-of-15 second-serve points in the first set, broke to open the second set but swatted an ugly forehand well wide to surrender a break in the next game, slamming a ball to the court in frustration at what in top form would have been a routine shot.

Both held serve until the ninth game, when McDonald sent a forehand wide to hand Murray the break and a 5-4 lead. Murray held on a service winner to force a third set.

 

-Tags:#Murray

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