Miami | Murray bids farewell on an eventful day in Florida

Andy Murray came close reaching the last 16 at the Miami Masters but just fell short despite producing a battling performance which acted as a strong reminder of his capabilities.

To still be able to compete with these guys is a credit to myself and the work that I've done and the effort that I've put into this to keep myself in this position Andy Murray

At the end of a closely fought battle, it was the young Czech Tomas Machac, aged 23, who claimed a place in round four after the three hour, 27-minute battled concluded 5-7 7-5 7-6(5).

As the score suggests, the match was very close.

In the first set the pair held their respective serves until 5-5 when Murray came close to raising a break point, but Machac held. However, the momentum was in the Scot’s favour as he then broke and served out for the set.

After a rain-hit win in his last match, this clash also experienced a rain delay in the second set with Murray trailing 2-1.

On resumption, the pair locked horns again but it was Machac who broke to set up a decisive third set where the Czech went up 3-0 at which point, the traditional Murray fightback got underway, breaking back for 4-5 and then held for 5-5.

After an injury scare on his ankle, which, for a brief moment a Murray retirement looked likely when he was on the verge of a possible victory, he returned to the court.

Andy Murray slumps at the net after badly twisting his ankle

(Photo by Frey/TPN/Getty Images)

Murray resumed after refusing to have his ankle taped and held his nerve to force a tiebreak where he quickly stamped his authority on it to go 5-2 up. However, an inspired Machac suddenly produced five consecutive winners to snatch the victory from Murray’s grasp.

“Obviously a disappointing finish for me but brilliant crowd, brilliant atmosphere, very tight match,” a frustrated Murray said.

“I was obviously a couple of points away from finishing it and to be fair to him he came out with some big shots, played high risk tennis and that paid off for him today.

Murray’s third set injury at first looked to be a possible Achilles tendon damage but later it was confirmed as a very painful ankle sprain.

But having come through major hip surgery to extend his career, Murray was able to appreciate the value of his performance and his earlier round wins over Italian Matteo Berrettini and Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry.

“It’s been pretty positive, there were some good signs in my game, definitely an improvement on the last few tournaments, not perfect but considering everything to be winning matches against the players I did and pushing Thomas like I did today, I’m proud of myself because it’s extremely difficult to do what I’m doing with the issue that I have.

“To still be able to compete with these guys is a credit to myself and the work that I’ve done and the effort that I’ve put into this to keep myself in this position,” he added.

Murray has for years done the bulk of his off-season training in Miami and says he has developed a genuine affection for the area.

“Miami has been a special place for me during my career. It’s been my tennis home really. I’ve done so much of my work and training and preparation here. I love the city,” he said.

Before leaving the court, he showed his appreciation to a crowd that had willed him on, chanting and cheering for him throughout the long battle with Machac.

“The support was brilliant, they’ve got obviously Americans in the crowd, there’s Brits in the crowd, a lot of Latin Americans as well here who love their tennis and have always given me really great support here,” he said.

“So was a bit more emotional leaving the court today than I might be at some of the other events,” he said.

Handling farewells is something that Murray knows will await him throughout the rest of the season as he heads towards his expected retirement later this year.

“I’m looking forward to the end now and just give my best the next few months and then get to be at home with my family and I’m looking forward to that,” he concluded

It was also very emotional as it was the last time Murray would play in Miami having announced his retirement sometime this year, possibly at Wimbledon.

There was plenty of other action as the tournament’s disrupted schedule caught up with itself.

Jannik Sinner was really extended by Tallon Griekspoor

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

World number three Jannik Sinner survived a scare from Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor as he moved into the fourth round with a 5-7 7-5 6-1 victory.

The second-seeded Italian, a two-time finalist in Miami, struggled against the Dutchman’s power play in the first set but turned the contest around after a rain break at 3-3 in the second set.

Sinner came out fighting and took the second before utterly dominating the third to book his place in the last 16.

“I think even the first set was really close, but it (got) away,” Sinner commented after the match.

“I think mentally I tried to stay strong, which I did, and I was in a tough situation today. After the rain came, I tried to come back a bit more aggressive, which I did, and obviously I’m really happy. It has been a tough day for me, but very happy about the result.”

Sinner will face Australian Christopher O’Connell, who emerged with a tight win over the USA’s Martin Damm 7-6(5) 7-6(5).

Reigning champion Daniil Medvedev beat Britain’s Cameron Norrie 7-5 6-1 and while he was happy with his performance, he said that rapidly deteriorating balls were creating unusual games.

“It’s a bit strange. The court is pretty fast, but the balls get old very fast. So, at one moment in the rally, you feel like there isn’t much you can do. So, you can’t go for the winner because the risk reward isn’t there. It’s the same for the opponent, so we just hit, hit,” he said in his post-match press conference.

After upsetting American Taylor Fritz on Saturday, Brazil’s Seyboth Wild was hoping for another scalp and pushed the more experienced Chilean, Nicolas Jarry hard in front of a packed crowd of mostly South Americans.

Jarry’s staying power proved decisive as he ran out 6-7(1) 7-5 6-3 winner.

Fabian Marozsan dumped the sixth seed for the loss of two games

(Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Hungarian Fabian Marozsan, the 24-year-old world 57, surprisingly upset world number seven Holger Rune 6-1 6-1 in one of the outstanding second round matches.

“I enjoy playing at the highest level. I had a great day and enjoyed every moment on the center court against a very talented player,” Marozsan said.

Marozsan will face Alexei Popyrin in the third round after the Australian beat Czech Jiri Lehecka 6-4 6-4.

After three of the four top-ranked Americans exited the tournament on Saturday, Ben Shelton kept the Star-Spangled flag flying in Florida with a 6-3 6-4 win over Spanish teenager Martin Landaluce.

“I thought I was pretty complete today,” Shelton said. “I thought I did a great job backing up my serve and usually when I have a lot of confidence and holding easily, the rest of my game continues to flow, and my confidence just grows.

“I think that helps me a lot and puts a lot of pressure on the other guy.”

In the third round, Shelton will be against 23rd seed Italian Lorenzo Musetti, who defeated Russian Roman Safiullin 7-5 6-1.



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