Andy Murray in the first round of the 2023 Australian Open, Melbourne
Andy Murray in the first round of the 2023 Australian Open, Melbourne | (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

Tennis | ATP Toronto 2023 | Murray edges Purcell to set Sinner showdown

By Tony Fairbairn

  • Andy Murray def Max Purcell [Q] 7-6(2) 3-6 7-5
  • Murray v Jannik Sinner [7] | H2H: Tied at 1-1
TORONTO, CANADA – Andy Murray edged past Max Purcell in three sets to set a third round showdown with Jannik Sinner in Toronto.


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Andy Murray def Max Purcell 7-6(2) 3-6 7-5

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Andy Murray is into the third round in Toronto after edging past Australian qualifier Max Purcell in three sets in a match that nearly lasted three hours. After a tight opening service hold, Murray settled into a consistent rhythm on return to deal the first blow in the fourth game as he broke for a 3-1 lead.

Purcell had shown before conceding the break that he was confident in his groundstrokes and the scoreboard didn’t change any of that as he continued to be aggressive on return. The reward for the Australian was an immediate break back as Murray couldn’t find enough consistent quality to neutralise Purcell’s threat on return.

Both players continued to be commanding on serve and dominant from the baseline with Purcell taking a little more risk with his shots. The qualifier was rewarded with a chance to break Murray’s resistance in the ninth game as he powered past the Brit’s defence. However the former world number one remained firm as he saved break point by winning a gruelling rally as held for a 5-4 lead.

Murray pushed for a late break but Purcell remained consistent on serve as the opening set would be decided in a tiebreak. A punishing opening set was won by the Brit in 68 minutes as he dominated the tiebreak 7-2 with the Australian producing too many erratic unforced errors.

In the second set both players continued to produce stunning shot-making as there was a lot of variety from both players to try and expose each other’s weaknesses. Murray pushed for the early break by being aggressive but Purcell’s point construction was too effective as he held off the early pressure.

The world number 78 was rewarded for his patience as he broke to love in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead to the frustration from an irate Murray. After fending off the double break deficit, Murray pushed for the break back but ultimately it was too little too late. Purcell saved break point and finished off the set with a smash winner to level the match at one set all.

In the deciding set, it was Murray who started out the strongest on return as he created an early break point but ultimately it was the Brit who was broken first. After saving break point in the second game, Purcell’s effective use of the slice was too hot for Murray to handle as the Australian took a 3-2 lead.

However Murray came back in fine fashion as the tough hold in the seventh game proved to be decisive as he increased the intensity on return. A comfortable break back in the eighth game sparked a wave of Murray pressure on return with Purcell unable to implement his game on the Murray serve.

After failing to convert two match points in the tenth game, Murray broke in the twelfth game as he sealed victory with a forehand winner. A big roar followed from the Brit as he sealed a place in the last 16 in Toronto.


Andy Murray v Jannik Sinner [7] H2H & Match Fundamentals

Andy Murray v Jannik Sinner [7] H2H: Tied at 1-1
ATP Toronto 2023 Toronto, Canada
Hard (O) Prize Money: $88,805
Fourth on Center Court (01:30 BST) Amazon Prime Video <– Sign up for trial

Next up is Jannik Sinner as Murray aims to reach his first Masters 1000 quarter-final since winning the Paris title in 2016.


Tale of the Tape – Key Stats (2023)

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H2H: Andy Murray (WR 40) Jannik Sinner (WR 8)
Tournament Previous Best Champion (2009, 2010, 2015) R3 (2022)
1st Serve % 62 59
Service Games Won % 82.1 85.9
Break Points Saved % 62 66.3
2nd Serve Return Points Won % 49.6 55.2
Break Points Converted % 31.9 42.5

Murray will need to produce an impressive serving performance as he takes on the consistent quality of Sinner on return.



Playing styles and prediction

A much needed semi-final performance at Wimbledon has seen Sinner regain some momentum after a fairly disappointing clay court season. Although the Italian’s performance against Novak Djokovic was underwhelming, there was lots of positives for Sinner to take from Wimbledon as he looks to break more ground at the US Open where he will look to win his maiden Grand Slam title.

Murray will look to be aggressive on serve as he will look to use depth and speed to neutralise Sinner’s power as well as construct effective points to make the Italian move around the court. Sinner will look to be consistent on serve and look to use his power from the forehand to create attacking patterns of play. This should be a very good test for Murray heading into the US Open but the Italian’s power and consistency should be too much for the Brit to handle.

Prediction: Sinner in three sets.



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