Murray makes it through Indian Wells opener
INDIAN WELLS, California (AFP): World No. 3 Andy Murray shook off some first-match nerves Sunday to post a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Russian Evgeny Donskoy in the second round of the Indian Wells Masters.
Murray hadn’t played in six weeks, since falling to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final.
Weighing on him even more, however, was the memory of crashing out of his opening match here in each of the past two years.
“I’ve struggled here the last couple of years,” he said. “I haven’t won a match. I was a little nervous.”
Murray found himself in a 5-1 hole in just 24 minutes against Donskoy, a 22-year-old ranked 83rd in the world.
The Scot reeled off four straight games to knot the set, but Donskoy broke him for a third time in the 12th game to pocket the set.
Murray, however, had found his range and made short work of the second and third sets.
The US Open champion next faces Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun, a 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/5) winner over 26th-seeded Slovakian Martin Klizan.
World No.1 and top seed Djokovic was also due to launch his campaign on Sunday with a second-round match against Italy’s Fabio Fognini.
The Serbian boasts a 13-0 record in 2013. In January he became the first player in the Open Era to win three straight Australian Open titles. Last week he won his fourth Dubai ATP title without dropping a set.
Djokovic says his year is beginning to feel a lot like his landmark 2011 season, which started with a 43-match winning run and ended up including three Grand Slam titles, five ATP Masters crowns and a record cash haul of $12.6 million.
“It’s very early still to say what’s going to happen, so I don’t want to predict anything,” he said. “My mindset will stay the same … take it step by step and then see how far I can go.”
Djokovic’s opener against Fognini pitted him against a player he has beaten in all three of their encounters.
The 25-year-old Italian reached the semi-finals at Acapulco last week and was a quarter-finalist at Buenos Aires.
Russian second seed Maria Sharapova was the top woman in action on Sunday, taking on Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro for a place in the round of 16.
The reigning French Open champion is seeking her first title of 2013 after reaching the semi-finals at the Australian Open and at Doha
Third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland was to take on Romanian Sorana Cirstea.
Sara Errani, runner-up to Sharapova at Roland Garros last year, reached the fourth round with a 6-3 6-1 victory over Sweden’s Johanna Larsson.
Errani, the sixth seed, next faces either ninth-seeded Marion Bartoli of France or Svetlana Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam champion who is unseeded as she comes back from an injury hit 2012 campaign.
In other early matches, American Mardy Fish made a winning return to competition, coming back from a break down in the third set to defeat US qualifier Bobby Reynolds.
Fish, the 32nd seed who was runner-up to Djokovic here in 2008, had been out of action since the US Open with a heart condition.
Seventh-seeded Argentina Juan Martin del Potro advanced, beating Russian Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-4.
Del Potro next faces Germany’s Bjorn Phau, who ousted 25th seed Jeremy Chardy of France 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.
Australian Marinko Matosevic upset 14th-seeded Juan Monaco of Argentina 7-5, 6-0.