By Tony Fairbairn
- Andy Murray def Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-7(5) 6-1 6-4
- Murray v Radu Albot [LL] | H2H: First Meeting
INDIAN WELLS, USA – Andy Murray played another three hour match as he defeated Tomas Martin Etcheverry in three sets to reach the second round at Indian Wells where he will face lucky loser Radu Albot.
Andy Murray [WC] def Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-7(5) 6-1 6-4
Andy Murray won another three hour battle as he defeated Tomas Martin Etcheverry in three sets. In slow Californian conditions, Murray made a promising start as he showed his returning quality by breaking down Martin Etcheverry’s game and creating five break points in the third game of the match.
However Murray couldn’t take his opportunities and it was the Argentinian who would break first as the Brit wasn’t able to neutralise Martin Etcheverry’s forehand. However after going down 4-2 in the opening set, Murray was able to produce some consistent power from the baseline and be consistently aggressive as he immediately broke back.
The Argentinian continued to force Murray back behind the baseline which set up the disguised drop shot which was effective on more than one occasion. The world number 61 used that to good effect as he saved three break points in the ninth game.
It was Murray’s turn to hold on towards the end of the set as the Argentinian showed good tactical variety but the Brit saved set point to hold and force an opening set tiebreak. Despite Murray’s grit and determination, it was a stunning forehand down the line from Martin Etcheverry that sealed the opening set as he took the tiebreak 7-5.
In the second set, the quality really showed between the two players as Murray used clever angles and flat, powerful forehands to blast winners past the Argentinian. There was no consistency from Martin Etcheverry as Murray raised his game to another level as he broke twice to comfortably take the second set 6-1.
The final set saw Murray continue his persistent aggression as he searched for the early break against the Argentinian. However as night time approached Martin Etcheverry wasn’t giving in as he saved three break points in two separate service games to deny the Brit. Both players then produced impressive service holds until the eighth game where Murray’s serve would be tested.
Murray faced two break points but the Brit produced some incredible volleying to deny the Argentinian from breaking serve. That seemed to be the spark Murray needed as he would break in the following game with some impressive agility and court coverage. After three hours and 11 minutes, Murray secured the victory with an ace as he roared his way to the second round after another three set victory.
Andy Murray v Radu Albot [LL] H2H & Match Fundamentals
|Andy Murray v Radu Albot [LL]||H2H: First Meeting|
|Indian Wells||Indian Wells, USA|
|Hard (O)||Prize Money: $30,885|
|Second on Stadium Two (20:30 GMT)||Amazon Prime Video <– Sign up for trial|
The reward for Murray’s hard-earned victory is a second round match against lucky loser Radu Albot after Pablo Carreno Busta withdrew from the tournament.
Tale of the Tape – Key Stats (2023)
|H2H:||Andy Murray (WR 55)||Radu Albot (WR 109)|
|Tournament Previous Best||Final (2009)||R3 (2019)|
|1st Serve %||63.6||62.8|
|Service Games Won %||81.9||80|
|Break Points Saved %||62.5||57.6|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won %||51.8||47.6|
|Break Points Converted %||37.8||40.3|
Murray will need to serve to a high level in this match as he takes on the returning efficiency of Albot.
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Playing styles and prediction
After a couple of early round exits, Albot has bounced back and has secured some good weeks in recent weeks including against Tommy Paul in Delray Beach where he reached the semi-finals. Although Albot’s serve has dominated his playing style over the years, it has been his improved returning quality that has allowed him to earn recent success. Now the Moldovan looks to achieve another statement victory in America as he looks to climb back into the world’s top 100.
Murray will need to serve much better than he did in his opening round otherwise Albot will punish the Brit on the return and force the errors from Murray’s game. The Moldovan will look to use his power from the baseline to test Murray’s defensive skills while Murray looks to use the drop shot to force tactical errors from Albot. As long as Murray keeps a consistent level, then he should win this match even if it is yet another three set victory.
Prediction: Murray in three sets.
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