In their first meeting at a tour-level encounter, Andy Murray overcame Carlos Alcaraz advancing into the third round for the first time since 2016.
Experience prevailed over youth Sunday at Indian Wells, as three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray came back from a set down to outlast 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 after a three-hour battle under the heavy heat at Tennis Paradise.
In his on-court interview, Murray commented: “He’s obviously got so much potential, so much firepower, and these conditions it’s not easy to finish points off quickly, but he’s able to because he has so much pace from the back of the court so I had to fight extremely hard, coming back from a set down.”
The Spaniard made his debut at Indian Wells, playing for the first time on Tour since the U.S. Open, where he retired due to an upper leg injury.
The World. No. 38 got off to a slow start failing to find much rhythm; the former World No. 1 broke his service early on the first set, opening a 3-0 advantage.
A half an hour into the first set, the NextGen ATP Finals contender started his comeback, narrowing the gap 4-2 following to level up the contest at 4-4, building a 7-5 victory in 66 minutes after Murray hit a double fault.
THE SETS IN NUMBERS
The 30th seed fired two aces, converted two out of two breakpoints opportunities he faced, winning 71 percent of his first-service points to 55 percent from his adversary, mastering drop shot winners in the process.
Both players committed two double faults each across the first set.
Murray, who received a wild card into the tournament, returned to court and regrouped, producing an early break as the second set began.
The match continued with great intensity from both players. Alcaraz matched the score at 2-2 but could not halt the 34-year-old from building an advantage that would lead him to close out the second set 6-3 in 58 minutes.
Once again, the numbers tell the story; the Murcia native hit two winners and 14 unforced errors, winning 55 percent of his first-service points to 9 and 70 percent from his adversary, respectively.
The Scot dominated the third set, which he sealed 6-2 to reach the third round in Indian Wells.
Tuesday, Murray will meet third seed Alexander Zverev who beat Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in one hour and 48 minutes.
Questioned about his next match, Zverev said: “I think he’s the only one of the Big Four I haven’t beaten yet, so I hope I can change that. I think it’s incredible how well he’s moving and incredible how well he’s playing. I think he’s very motivated, so I hope I can show my best tennis.”
The 46-time ATP titlist leads their Head 2 Head series 2-0.