Andy Murray earned a hard-fought victory over US Open quarter-finalist Carlos Alcarazin 3 hours and 15 minutes to seal his place in the third round at Indian Wells. It was the three-time grand slam champion who started the match the strongest, displaying his incredible defensive play to force errors from the powerful Spaniard to take a 3-1 lead. After that there were signs that Alcaraz was growing into the match showing why his forehand is one of the biggest weapons in tennis at the moment.
Despite failing to convert three break points in the fourth game, the Spaniard did eventually break back in the seventh game as the winners count from the 18 year-old continued to rise. This is when questions of Murray’s ability to win the big points under pressure against the top players would be answered as the Brit was put under pressure. After failing to take set point in the tenth game, Murray succumbed to the power pressure from Alcaraz as a powerful backhand cross-court sealed the crucial break for a 6-5 lead. The 18 year-old would close out the set to take a one set lead.
Murray continued to overcome the returning power in the second set with the Brit even throwing in the odd underarm serve to surprise his opponent and the crowd. After saving four break points, Murray pounced as defence triumphed over attack as he broke in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead. Great athleticism and variety saw Murray confuse the Spaniard as he took the second set in 59 minutes.
The defensive recovery and shot-making of the world number 121 seemed to neutralise the power of Alcaraz as a backhand unforced error gave Murray the early break. After saving a flurry of break points it was all about Murray as another break of serve in the sixth game saw Murray outlast the Spaniard and seal his place in the third round.
Andy Murray [WC] v Alexander Zverev  H2H & Match Fundamentals
Zverev has had one of his most consistent levels with the Olympic title giving him the confidence to push on and win Cincinnati as well as push Novak Djokovic to the distance at the US Open. The German’s improved serve and consistently powerful groundstrokes has made him one of the best players in the world.
Tactically and the conditions at Indian Wells favour Murray as he will look to frustrate the German with his defensive ability looking to force errors from Zverev’s racket. This match will test Zverev’s rally tolerance and will test the Brit’s ability to be consistent at a high level. Once again Murray’s ability to raise his game in the pressure moments will be tested in this third round match.
Prediction: Murray in three sets.
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