Sydney Tennis Classic: Andy Murray passes Nikoloz Basilashvili test

The physically-demanding encounter lasted a staggering three hours and 15 minutes on Ken Rosewall Arena.

Andy Murray in a file photo; Credit: [email protected]_murray

Former World No.1 Andy Murray rallied from a set deficit to edge past second seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 to advance to the quarter-finals at the Sydney Tennis Classic. Murray showed incredible fighting spirit, as he recovered from squandering three set points on serve at 5-4 in the second set to beat Basilashvili on Wednesday. The physically-demanding encounter lasted a staggering three hours and 15 minutes on Ken Rosewall Arena. Murray had secured his first win of the season against Norway’s Viktor Durasovic in the opening round in Sydney. He backed it up against the Georgian, sitting deep behind the baseline to survive the grueling test.

“It was an unbelievably tough match,” Murray said in his on-court interview. “He is hitting the ball consistently bigger than anyone on the Tour. I was having to do a lot of defending and running but my legs stood up well and at the end, I served really well in the last set.”

The Scot now leads Basilashvili 2-0 in their ATPHead2Head series after previously defeating the World No.23 in the first round at Wimbledon last year. The 34-year-old’s next opponent will be David Goffin, who beat Denis Kudla 6-2, 6-3.

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Murray: I tried to serve a little bit bigger

“I got a lot of free points on my serve,” Murray said. “When we were in the rallies, it was more on his terms, so I tried to serve a little bit bigger and thankfully they went in. When he was serving, I tried to take time away from him and rush him and I hit some better returns.”

Earlier, Andy Murray eased past Norwegian qualifier Viktor Durasovic 6-3, 6-1 to reach the second round at the Sydney Tennis Classic, thereby earning his first win in Australia in three years on Tuesday. This comes after the former World No.1 lost to Facundo Bagnis in his first match of the season last week in Melbourne. 

However, Murray, whose last victory in Australia came against James Duckworth in Brisbane in January 2019, bounced back from that defeat in some style, producing a dominant performance against Durasovic. He progressed through after 72 minutes to improve to 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series.

“It is perfect conditions here,” Murray had said in his on-court interview. “It feels like you are playing indoors. It is really nice to get your range here and hopefully I can carry that through to Melbourne. I was hoping to get matches in Melbourne last week, but that didn’t happen. Thankfully the tournament organisers and Tennis Australia agreed to give me the wild card and the opportunity to play here and I am very grateful for that.”

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