Indian Wells | Murray cruises through but Draper crashes out

British hopes in the men’s draw at Indian Wells, the first ATP 1000 level event of the season, suffered a setback when Jack Draper was beaten in his opening round by Australian Christopher O’Connell 6-1 3-6 they opened play out in the California desert.

That's the best I've served here. I've always struggled serving certainly the last 10 years or so when I've been here for whatever reason. Today felt much better Andy Murray

However, Andy Murray made up for that disappointment when he defeated David Goffin 6-3 6-2 for the eighth time in his career. The Belgian, who came through the qualifying event, has yet to record a win over the former world No.1!

The Draper result though was a disappointment. The recently installed British No.2, a semi-finalist in Acapulco before retiring, looked to have fully recovered from an illness when he stormed through the opening set, dominating the 29-year-old Aussie ranked 66 with his serve while defending stoutly from the back of the court.

The world No.37 got off to an excellent start but needed seven break chances before converting his first for a 3-1 lead after a 12-minute long fourth game.

From that point the 22-year-old was on a roll, pocketing five consecutive games to establish a one set lead.

But the Brit was unable to maintain that momentum when the pair opened the second set, getting broken in the opener as O’Connell started his fightback by tightening up his serve and adopting a more aggressive approach with some powerful forehand play off the baseline.

Like the Brit, the Australian was also unable to maintain his momentum at the start of the decider with Draper saving four break points in the opening game and then breaking for 2-0, only for O’Connell to respond by taking complete control of the match, running off with six consecutive games to claim a second round place after two-hours and 22-minutes of play and a meeting with the sixth seeded Alexander Zverev

A frustrating day for Jack Draper

(Photo by Mike Frey/Getty Images)

Later Andy Murray strode on court to produce his best performance of a roller-coaster season where he has played six tournaments but won only two matches.

The 36-year-old Murray, a former world No.1 and Indian Wells champion (2009) served to a very high-level leaving Goffin, a former top-tenner, struggling to find an answer and end his run of defeat at the hands of the Scot.

Murray, currently ranked at No 61, never faced a break point as he dominated Goffin, including winning all 17 sets they’ve played against each other.

“For me it was the serve,” Murray said of his win. “That frees up a lot of the rest of my game. When you’re always having to fight and work for points on your own serve, you feel more under pressure but today I got a lot of free points off my serve.

“That freed me up in the return games and I was able to strike the ball well from the back of the court, defended well when I had to. An all-around solid performance.”

He added: “That’s the best I’ve served here. I’ve always struggled serving certainly the last 10 years or so when I’ve been here for whatever reason. Today felt much better.”

Murray is making his 16th Indian Wells appearance and now holds a 31-15 record at the ATP Masters 1000 level events. His next opponent though, is the fifth seed, Andrey Rublev.



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