Andy Murray’s Bewitching Revival At Indian Wells After Falling Short To Alexander Zverev

It’s almost impossible to knock the Brit’s drive to succeed on the main stage this year as he’s had a tumultuous yet difficult time on tour to banish the memories of the injuries that plagued him. For much of 2o21, Andy Murray has dug in and attempted to gain some form of traction in his comeback after a major hip surgery. 

Murray seemed to be setting a consistent trend regardless of the calibre of the opponent on the court. The former No.1 hones his craft in an expert fashion in the opening set, mirroring the player he once was but fails to take his chances before losing it. Shortly after his intensity would fade as he fails to hide the fact that he is 34-years-old.

The Wimbledon Grand Slam winner has battled it out with the likes of Dennis Shapovalov, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Hubert Hurkacz, Frances Tiafoe to name a few in 2021 and showcased his pure desire to compete. 

He pushed Greek Tsitsipas to a lung-busting final fifth set in the first round of the 2021 US Open, he showed his unrivalled resilience against plucky Canadian teenager Dennis Shapovalov in the third round of Wimbledon this year, while trading blows on the court with Carlos Alcaraz in the last round of 64 at Indian Wells. It wasn’t to be as Alexander Zverev picked apart Murray in the last 32 at Indian Wells but Murray can hold his head high as the former world No.1 held his own proving why he had a handful of accolades.

Murray Turns A Corner In The Californian Desert

Andy Murray flexed his muscles in his opening Indian Wells showdown as he ensured British success after beating Adrian Mannarino 6-3 6-2 in convincing fashion. Mannarino, who is ranked 50th in the world, is a tricky opponent to vanquish but Murray utilised his years of experience and won in straight sets. It was the Scot’s first time back to the competition since 2017 and he wasted no time in picking apart the Frenchman to progress into the next round. 

Next up was the challenge of Spanish starlet Carlos Alcaraz, who strung together a nice US Open run reaching the quarter-finals against F. Auger-Aliassime, which he ultimately fell short. 

Murray flew out of the blocks against Alcaraz, putting him to the sword in the first three games. It seemed the veteran had the first set in the bag until the Spaniard battled back from 0-40 down after looking down the barrel of a double break defeat to rescue his service game and breaking back to 3-4. 

Murray, who was shellshocked looked to be fitting square pegs into round holes until the 18-year-old forced a blunder handing Murray a set point at 5-4  but the Spaniard recovered again with a big serve then broke Murray a second time before serving out.

The 34-year-old rallied in the second set and was forced to deal with some blistering groundstrokes from the greenhorn, but it was Murray who resorted to a controversial and audacious underarm serve to seal the third game and rattle the teenager. 

Murray sealed the second set and went into the third with a skip in his step. Murray broke at the start of the third set, then came out on top of another 10-minute service game to consolidate his advantage. The man with the metal hip could taste victory and all it took was an emphatic double break to seal a hugely significant win for the Brit. 

Murray Faces Zverev in Round Of 32

Murray found himself dining once more at the tennis elite’s table when his name was pulled out of the hat to face No.3 seed Zverev in the round of 32. The Brit raised a few eyebrows after holding serve on the first game before shell-shocking the German by breaking his serve in the second. Murray had found his colossal serve and looked comfy in the set before the 24-year-old started to find his winning forehand. 

The towering German practised his composure and battled back to dispatch Murray in the first set 6-4. The second set saw a different Murray as he dictated play from the back of the baseline forcing the German to make a plethora of errors. A huge break in the fourth game chalked Murray back onto the board as he made an impressive get from a Zverev drop shot. 

Murray bought himself some more time as he demonstrated his court craft to push the second to a tie break, But it was not enough as Zverev continued to show why he occupied the number three spot by closing out Murray 7-4 in the second set tie break to solidify his spot in the next round. 

Murray was truly outstanding in the Californian competition and what seemed a truly unbelievable comeback is slowly coming to fruition. The Brit will look towards the Australian Open as his next big challenge and he can take the Indian Wells as a highlight reel to use as momentum in his next competition.