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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday October 25, 2020

 
Andy Murray

Andy Murray battled past Poland's Hubert Hurkacz for his best win by ranking in 14 months.
 

It was starting to look like déjà vu all over again, then it wasn’t.

Andy Murray squandered a match point in the second set but eventually recovered and knocked off tenth-ranked Hubert Hurkacz for his first Top-10 win of 2021, 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3 to book a second-round clash with 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz of Spain.

Tennis Express

Murray snaps a career-worst run of 10 consecutive losses against Top-20 players with his first win in three tries against the rising Pole. Hurkacz had previously defeated Murray by identical scorelines, 7-6(4), 6-3, at Cincinnati and Metz this season.

Murray credits his overall comfort on court as a key contributing factor to his 13th win of the season. He says he is moving better and, perhaps more important, reading and reacting to his opponents better at this stage of the season.

"My movement has been getting a little better with each match," said Murray on court after the match. "A lot of my movement is about anticipation and when you're not playing many matches - like I haven't been in recent years - you don't read the play quite as well. Now I'm starting to see the ball a little earlier and starting to react a little quicker, which means I will start to chase more balls down."


Hurkacz, who is gunning for a spot in this year’s ATP Finals at Turin, put up a brave fight. He saved a match point at 5-6 down in the second-set tiebreaker with a blistering backhand and went on to force the decider.

Hurkacz broke to open the third set, on his third break point, but Murray answered immediately, and broke again for 4-2 before closing out the contest in two hours and 41 minutes.

It is a tough loss for Hurkacz, who will likely need to earn points at next week’s Paris Masters to qualify for Turin. He entered this week just 110 in front of Italy’s Jannik Sinner, who is in Vienna and will face Reilly Opelka in first-round action on Wednesday.

Alcaraz Pushes on

It was another impressive win for rapid riser Carlos Alcaraz of Spain on Monday. The 18-year-old phenom took out World No.24 Dan Evans 6-4, 6-3 on his tournament debut. Alcaraz, the Umag champion who became the youngest US Open quarterfinalist in history in New York in September, improves to 23-15 on the year.

He lost to Murray in a tight three-setter at Indian Wells two weeks ago, falling 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

Elsewehere in Vienna, Nikoloz Bashilashvili, the runner-up at Indian Wells, topped Pablo Carreno Busta 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, while Alex de Minaur topped Kevin Anderson, 6-3, 7-6(3).

 

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