Here we go again! Andy Murray beats Tomas Martin Etcheverry in ANOTHER three-hour thriller to progress at Indian Wells… extending his unbeaten run in deciding-set matches
- Brit has won all five of his best-of-three set matches that go to a deciding set
- Murray has won both five-set matches in a similar vein in 2023
- Former Wimbledon champion says he’s been through some ‘brutal matches’
Andy Murray took yet another opponent to the brink before snatching victory in his three-set, three-hour win against Tomas Martin Etcheverry at Indian Wells.
Murray has begun to make a habit of winning matches that go to the deciding set in 2023, with Thursday’s match the seventh time this year that the former Wimbledon champion has won at the last.
The former world No 1 has played only three matches in the best-of-three or best-of-five format where every set hasn’t been played – and lost them all.
Etcheverry came close to defeating the indefatigable player, starting strong to take the first set tie-break and set up break point for a 2-1 lead in the second.
Andy Murray once again went the distance, this time against Tomas Martin Etcheverry
Both men had the chance to seize the match, but Murray stayed the course and fought back for after a vital hold of serve
But after saving the break point, Murray surged back to level things a set apiece.
Things looked to be going the Argentinian’s way in the third, as Murray trailed 4-3 on serve while staring down the barrel of two break points.
After cemented the vital hold, Murray went on a barnstorming run to seize the match and set up his second-round clash with 15th seed Pablo Carreno Busta.
In his post-match interview, Murray acknowledged the do-or-die nature of his late-career contests.
‘I’ve been fighting my hardest,’ Murray said. ‘I really want to make the most of these last years that I’ve got.
‘I’ve managed to fight through some brutal matches. It’s been incredible really.’
The world-ranked No 55 added: ‘I don’t want this to stop. I know it will at some stage, but while it’s going like this, I might as well enjoy it.’
Since Murray’s second hip surgery in 2019, the player has gradually seen a career resurgence, breaking into the top 50 in 2022 after rehiring former coach Ivan Lendl to take over his program.
Another high point last season for Murray was reaching the final of the Stuttgart Open, where he beat a top five player, Stefanos Tsitsipas, for the first time since 2016 to set up his clash with Berrettini.
Murray was in contention for his first title of 2023 in late February at the Qatar Open, but meeting former US Open champion Daniil Medvedev in the final proved a step too far.
Talking to BBC Sport after beating Etcheverry, Murray was realistic.
‘I’m not going to keep winning every three-set match that I play, but it’s been an amazing start to the year,’ said the 35-year-old.
‘It was still a good effort to turn that around as the first set was extremely long and I was thinking ‘here we go again’.
The former world No 1 appeared drained as the match drew to its thrilling conclusion
After the match, Murray hailed his ‘amazing start to the year’ as he sealed yet another victory
Three hours and 12 minutes was nothing compared to the five-set epic Murray battled through with Thannis Kokkinakis until 4am at the Australian Open in January
‘This is a place where I haven’t always played my best tennis so I was really happy that I managed to turn that around.’
In January, Murray played the longest match of his career at the Australian Open, spending a whopping five hours and 45 minutes on court with Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round of the competition.
Murray beat Kokkinakis in a five-set thriller that went to two tiebreaks, an achievement made all the more remarkable by the fact that Murray had already taken his first-round content against 13th seed Berrettini to five sets two days earlier.
The second-round clash wrapped up at 4.05am Melbourne time.
Should Murray beat the Spaniard Carreno Busta, he will face an all-British match in the third round, facing either British No 2 Dan Evans or No 4 Jack Draper, who will meet in California tomorrow for their second round tie.