Andy Murray beat world No.10 Hubert Hurkacz at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. The former world No 1 showed great character to come out on top at the end of a gruelling three-set match in Austria on Monday. The 34-year-old had lost to Hurkacz in Cincinnati and Metz earlier this year but got the better of the Pole in the third attempt with a scoreline of 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3. Meanwhile it was the Briton’s first top 10 victory since getting the better of Alexander Zverev in 2020 in Cincinnati in 2020.
“It’s a good feeling,” Murray said. “It was obviously a very tight match which could have gone either way. I had some chances in the second set but didn’t get it and then the third set I was obviously a break down and he’s not an easy guy to break, especially indoors.
“Thankfully I managed to get the break back in the next game and from there probably deserved to get over the line. It was a good win in tough circumstances.”
Murray had to save two breakpoint chances in the third game before he made inroads into the Hurkacz’ own serve six games later. He took his set points as he won 20 out of 25 points on serve.
In the sixth game of the second set, both players were on the ropes, as Murray showed great fighting spirit to defend four break point opportunities. And then, he showed how much his fitness has improved after the hip surgeries, as he chased down a lost cause before flashing a forehand running passing shot down the line. Meanwhile the Pole dug deep to save two break points for a big hold for 4-3. The set went all the way before Hurkacz took his set point to level things up
In the deciding set, Murray broke for a 4-2 lead and managed to get over the winning line with an ace on his third match point in two hours and 41 minutes to set up a clash with Carlos Alcaraz.
Speaking about his movement, Murray added: “I think that’s something that with each match I have started to do a little bit better with. A lot of my movement is about anticipation and when you’re not playing many matches like I have in the last few years you’re just not quite reading the play as well.
“Now with each match and each week that I’m playing, I’m starting to see the ball a bit earlier and starting to react a little bit quicker. That means I’m going to chase more balls down and move a little bit better. That’s a huge part of my game. I need it.”
Spaniard Alcaraz overcame Dan Evans with a 6-4 6-3 win to set up a Round of 16 clash with Murray. Evans was broken in his first service game,going down 2-0. Although the Briton leveled things at 2-2 the Alcaraz took the first set courtesy of two service breaks.
Meanwhile in the second set the world No 24 Evans conceded a 3-1 lead to lose the next five games, the set and the match.