Quite early in the first set, it was clear that the rallies would be physically brutal under the Californian sun, as the games progressed with serve.
Five aces in the match and good aggressive play from Murray made for a cat-and-mouse first set.
Two very tight points from Del Potro in the tiebreak gave Murray an advantage after losing the first point on his own serve.
Del Potro’s reluctance, at times, to come in to the net was starting to cost him dear as Murray started to dominate the tiebreak.
Del Potro perhaps sensed a reprieve when Murray double-faulted and lost the next point on his serve to give the two mini-breaks back.
A staggering 43 shot rally ended in a Del Potro unforced error giving Murray 2 set points, with Del Potro saving one of them.
But a shot swinging wide handed Murray the first set.
As the shadows started to creep across the court, Del Potro showed he wasn’t cowed by losing the first set, taking the first 8 points of the second set on the trot, as a Murray double fault handed Del Potro the first break.
Murray got himself on the board after the first change of ends and two double faults in succession almost handed Del Potro another break, but Murray dug in to hold.
There was a sense of a shift as Murray suddenly started to move a lot more aggressively but it was not enough as Del Potro capitalised on two set points of his own.
The final set saw Murray uncharacteristically give up six games in a row, securing Del Potro a place in the Indian Wells semi-final against Novak Djokovic.
This was Murray’s first tournament since losing the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic at the start of the year.
In the last two years, he has not gone past the first round at Indian Wells, so he should take some confidence from this, and look for a stronger run in Miami next week.
Picture Credit: commons.wikimedia.org
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