Indian Wells | Murray and Draper clear first round.

The first round of the Indian Wells Masters has been completed with the winners, including Andy Murray and Jack Draper, going on to face seeded players who have been granted opening round byes in a day that produced some surprises.

I did really well to keep going in the end. Another brutal match and I'm glad I managed to get through it Andy Murray

Murray fans have now become accustomed to the former world No.1 getting involved in lengthy matches and he didn’t let them down on this occasion with Argentina’s Tomas Martin Etcheverry who lost the Santiago final last weekend.

The Scot outlasted Etcheverry 6-7(5) 6-1 6-4 in the three-hour 12-minute contest which saw him deliver 28 winners compared to his opponent’s 36 and will play No. 15 seed Pablo Carrena Busta in the next round.

“In some of the matches I managed to win this year, I felt like I was fortunate whereas today, I really had lots of chances in that third set,” Murray said after the win, referring to his eight break opportunities in the decider.

“I wasn’t getting them and was getting really frustrated. He was coming up with some big serves at times, but I also felt like I made some poor decisions as well. The more chances that went by, the more you think about it.

“I did really well to keep going in the end. Another brutal match and I’m glad I managed to get through it.”

And it didn’t look good in the opening set which proved a tight affair as Murray fought off Etcheverry’s powerful serving over 88-minutes of play giving the Argentine the momentum in the second.

Murray refused to lie down and fought back in the second finally getting the better of Etcheverry’s serve to force a deciding set where he currently remains undefeated having now won the last seven three set matches he has contested!

The 35-year-old didn’t drop his own serve during those last two sets and fought off two break points at 3-4 before securing the pivotal break on his fifth break point of the next game courtesy of an Etcheverry double fault.

After a fine half volley to set up match point, the 2009 Indian Wells finalist finished the match off with his sixth ace.

Andy Murray shakes hands at the net after victory over Tomas Martin Etcheverry

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

“I don’t think it is a coincidence, but last year I lost a lot of them,” Murray said when discussing his impressive record in final sets.

“I was talking to my team about it, just saying like the law of averages. This can’t keep going. Once I won one, I did feel like I would start to feel more comfortable in those situations. Thankfully, that’s been the case.

“Obviously, winning all seven, I’m aware that at some stage I’m going to lose one of them.

“I worked very hard in the off-season to put myself in a great position physically, and I feel very motivated.

“Even when I’ve gotten behind in matches, I’ve kept fighting, kept trying to find solutions. I won some matches that certainly if some of these matches were played last year, I wouldn’t have won them.
“Today, I felt like I created so many opportunities and it was one that easily could have got away from me.”

After injuries threatened his career, the three time grand slam champion who also holds 14 Masters titles and two Olympic gold medals, is still not contemplating retirement..

“I really want to make the most of these last years that I’ve got,” he told Eurosport. “I want to keep going, I still feel extremely motivated.

“There are certain things that I would like to achieve before I finish playing and goals that I set myself, but the number one thing is to give my best effort every single day.

“If I do that then I’ll finish my career on a high note.”

Meanwhile Jack Draper, who has an exciting career ahead of him, made his first appearance on court since the Australian Open and required just 56-minutes to storm through to round two overwhelming Swiss qualifier Leandro Riedl 6-1 6-1.

The draw, however, has not been favourable for the Londoner who now takes on the 24th seed, Britain’s No.2, Dan Evans with the winner potentially facing Murray in round three, should the former British No.1 get past Spain’s Carreno Busta.

Brandon Nakashima raises his racket in a victory salute

Mike Frey/Getty Images

In other action former finalist John Isner was bundled out by his American countryman Brandon Nakashima 7-6(7) 6-3 after the 21-year-old survived 15 Isner aces breaking the big man twice for his victory.

“You know you are going to get some opportunities out there,” Nakashima said on the ATP Tour website. “You know he is going to hit some big bombs once in a while. But you always go into it knowning you will have some opportunities. You just got to see them when they come and capitalize on them.”

Nakashima will now face the streaking Daniil Medvedev, the fifth seeded Rusisan who has won the last three tournaments he has played ina s many weeks.

After a seven-month lay-off due to a foot injury, Frenchman Gael Monfils’s return was spoiled by Australia’s Jordan Thompson 6-3 6-1.

In contrast Diego Schwartzman, who has been struggling with his form over the past few months, got a good win over his Argentine compatriot Federico Coria 6-1 6-2.

The Czech Republic’s exciting 21-year-old Jiri Lehecka topped Arthur Rinderknech of France 7-6(4) 7-5 while China’s Yibing Wu defeated Spain’s Jaume Munar in 6-7(6) 6-0 7-6(3).

France’s Adrian Mannarino rallied for a 4-6 6-4 7-6(5) victory over Austrian Dominic Thiem, the 2020 US Open winner who was sidelined for eight months by a right wrist injury suffered in 2021.

Thiem had recovered an early break in the third set to force the tiebreaker, which he led 5-3 only for Mannarino to reel off the four points to capture the victory in two-hours and 43-minutes.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, with two knee and two foot surgeries behind him and now ranked 100th in the world, fired 17 winners in a 6-4 1-6 6-1 victory over Australian qualifier Aleksandar Vukic.

In other matches Thursday, Australian qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis, ranked 94th in the world, booked a second-round clash with top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz of Spain with a 6-4 6-1 victory over US wild card Brandon Holt.

American Ben Shelton defeated Italian veteran Fabio Fognini 6-4 6-1 to set up a meeting with his countryman, the fourth-seeded defending champion Taylor Fritz.

Stan Wawrinka in first round action

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images



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