Andy Murray sinks Hubert Hurkacz to secure significant season milestone
It was a case of third time’s the charm for Andy Murray as he finally overcame ATP Finals contender Hubert Hurkacz in Vienna.
The former world number one received a tough draw to kick off the ATP 500 event in Austria as he faced world number 10 and tournament fifth seed Hurkacz in the first round.
The two men had already faced twice before this season, more specifically in the last two months. Hurkacz won in straight sets both times and by the same scoreline, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3.
Murray went into the match with a perfect record in Vienna. He played the event in 2014 and 2016, claiming the title on both occasions.
And the 34-year-old got off to a strong start as he claimed the opening set 6-4 with a single break.
In the second, the two men could not be separated before a tiebreak. Murray set himself up with a match point at 5-6 on the Hurkacz serve, but the Pole hit a winner off a strong return from the Brit to stay alive.
Hurkacz then claimed the tiebreak to level the match and prolong the battle.
Murray eventually sealed the match nearly an hour later, nailing an ace out wide to win on his third match point, 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3.
The result is a significant one for the three-time Slam champion within the broader narrative of his 2021 season.
Murray had faced top-10 opposition five times already this year, losing each match.
This victory over Hurkacz is not only a first over a top-10 opponent in 2021, but a first for over a year. Murray’s last such win came in August 2020 at the Cincinnati Masters over then world number seven Alexander Zverev.
Up next Murray will repeat another recent test. He faces his opponent from the second round of Indian Wells, 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, after the Spaniard defeated another Brit in Dan Evans.
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