Andy Murray in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, USA
Andy Murray in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, USA | (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Tennis | ATP Toronto 2023 | Murray overcomes Sonego battle, faces Purcell in second round meeting

By Tony Fairbairn

  • Andy Murray def Lorenzo Sonego 7-6(3) 6-0
  • Murray v Max Purcell [Q] | H2H: Murray leads 1-0
TORONTO, CANADA – Andy Murray overcame a gruelling first set to defeat Lorenzo Sonego and reach the second round in Canada where he will face Max Purcell.


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Andy Murray def Lorenzo Sonego 7-6(3) 6-0

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Andy Murray is into the second round in Toronto after overcoming Lorenzo Sonego in straight sets. Despite the match being won in straight sets, it was by no means an easy victory as the opening set took 90 minutes to complete as both players were passive and tentative. In windy conditions it was hard for both players to implement an aggressive game style as Murray was the more likely to break early on.

However the Italian’s accurate and consistent serving fended off the early Murray pressure as he saved two break points. Sonego found a winning formula in the middle of the set as he was starting to approach the net on a more regular basis. Although he had a good success rate, Sonego missed key volleys on big points with Murray taking advantage of the Italian’s lack of confidence by using his vintage lob winners.

As the set went on, the games kept getting longer with both players finding it hard to finish points off quickly. A frustrated Murray turned to his coaching staff for support or guidance as a third break point was missed in the ninth game before the Brit was put under pressure on his own serve.

Sonego’s attacking intent on return earned him two set points but the world number 39 would miss more crucial volleys as Murray remained clutch to hold for 5-5. A mammoth opening set would be decided by a tiebreak as both players remained firm and stubborn on serve. In the end Murray’s craft and composure was enough as he secured the tiebreak 7-3 and a one set lead after an hour and a half.

The opening set would be the key to the match as a more comfortable second set was produced by Murray after a tight opening service game. As Murray kept getting the ball back, Sonego kept hitting catastrophic unforced errors as the Brit’s defensive skillset was frustrating the Italian.

A vintage point from Murray, which saw some world-class defensive shot-making, sealed a third consecutive break as he won all six games to book his place into the second round in Toronto.


Andy Murray v Max Purcell [Q] H2H & Match Fundamentals

Andy Murray v Max Purcell [Q] H2H: Murray leads 1-0
ATP Toronto 2023 Toronto, Canada
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Murray’s will now face qualifier Max Purcell in the second round who knocked out an out-of-sorts Felix Auger-Aliassime in the previous round.


Tale of the Tape – Key Stats (2023)

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H2H: Andy Murray (WR 40) Max Purcell (WR 78)
Tournament Previous Best Champion (2009, 2010, 2015) QR1 (2021, 2022)
1st Serve % 62 62.2
Service Games Won % 82.1 78.5
Break Points Saved % 62 67.4
2nd Serve Return Points Won % 49.6 45.5
Break Points Converted % 31.9 35.7

Murray will look to keep up his serving consistency when he takes on the returning efficiency of Purcell.



Playing styles and prediction

Heading into Toronto, Purcell was on a six match losing streak with the Australian’s last win coming at Roland Garros. The Australian will be hoping his win over Auger-Aliassime can spark an improvement on form as he is yet to translate his form on the Challenger circuit onto wins on the main tour.

Murray will look to be crafty from the baseline, creating angles to expose open space to hit winners into. Meanwhile Purcell will look to use deep returns to come forwards into the net as well as using his forehand to put Murray’s defence under pressure. This will test Murray’s consistency as this is a great opportunity to win back-to-back matches at a Masters 1000 event and as long as he doesn’t commit too many errors, then the Brit should win this comfortably.

Prediction: Murray in straight sets.


Alex De Minaur def Cameron Norrie [11] 7-5 6-4; Gabriel Diallo [WC] def Dan Evans 7-6(4) 7-5

There will be no second round clash in Toronto between Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans as both players lost to Alex De Minaur and Gabriel Diallo respectively. Norrie had a comfortable 5-3 lead in the opening set but crumbled in the big moments as he fell to a straight sets defeat to De Minaur.

Meanwhile Evans couldn’t defend his semi-final points in Canada as he failed to capitalise on his title run in Washington. The Brit lost a close opening set before being broken on three occasions in the second set to the powerful Canadian.

Now both players will look to regain momentum when they head to Cincinnati next week.



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