When you open two sets to love lead against Andy Murray at Majors, which wasn't a common thing in his prime years, you are still miles away from the finish line! Always ready to give his 100% despite evident struggles on the court, the Briton had a leading role in many incredible comebacks on the most significant scene, securing the tenth of those on Tuesday in New York!
Competing in only his second tournament of the season, Andy prevailed against Yoshihito Nishioka 4-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 4-6 in four hours and 38 minutes in the US Open's first round. Thus, he joined Roger Federer and Todd Martin on nine two sets to love comebacks at Majors, topping the charts with the Swiss and American.
The Japanese had everything in his hands against a former champion, securing five breaks and wasting a match point in the fourth set, only to find himself on the losing side and push Murray towards the record. Both players won 30 points in the opening set and it was Nishioka who got more from that, fending off two break chances at 1-2 and creating the crucial advantage with a single break in the seventh game.
The Japanese had 12 winners and nine unforced errors, playing better when it mattered the most to take a 6-4 advantage. Andy brought the first game home with a service winner after deuce, with Nishioka leveling the score at 1-1 with a hold at 15.
Yoshihito fended off both break points in the fourth game with winners, forcing an error from Andy to lock the result at 2-2. After two comfortable holds for each, the Japanese grabbed a break with a smash winner to open a 4-3 gap, confirming the advantage with an unreturned serve and serving for the set at 5-4.
A left-hander held at 30 to bring the opener home, gathering boost ahead of set number two. There, Murray served under 50%, which cost him dearly, giving away almost half of the points behind the initial shot and finding himself 4-0 down.
Andy Murray is third player in Open era with nine comebacks from 0-2 at Majors.
The Briton played well by the end of the set, pulling one break back but having to start all over from two sets to love down when Nishioka held in game ten.
Andy sprayed a forehand error in the first game to give serve away, dropping four straight points in the third game thanks to another loose forehand and falling 4-0 behind. After three deuces in game five, Murray held to avoid a bagel, pulling one break back a few minutes later to reduce the deficit.
Both players served well in the rest of the set and Nishioka brought it home with a service winner at 5-4, opening two sets to love advantage and looking good to seal the deal in straight sets. Murray got broken in the first game of the third set after a double fault, having no rhythm in his strokes and falling 2-0 down when Yoshihito held at love.
The returners won only three points in the next three games before Andy found the right formula on the return at 2-3, breaking back to prolong the action. At 4-4, Murray defended a break point, facing more troubles in the 11th game when Nishioka created three break chances.
Andy stayed focused to save them all with brave hitting, holding with a volley winner to move 6-5 in front. In the tie break, Yoshihito sprayed a forehand error in the second point, reducing the deficit with a backhand winner.
An unreturned serve pushed the Japanese 4-3 ahead, with Murray taking the next one with a well-constructed attack, forging the lead with a forehand winner and seizing the second set point for a massive boost. Nishioka was the better player in the fourth set, dropping four points in six service games and delivering four holds at love to keep the pressure on the other side.
Murray had to dig deep behind the initial shot, fending off four break chances in games two and six before an ultimate test at 5-6. Nishioka wasted a match point on the return, sending the momentum to Andy's side of the court and allowing the Briton to take the breaker 7-4 and send the encounter into a decider.
In the first game, Murray saved a break point, failing to do the same at 2-2 after hitting a double fault that pushed Nishioka 3-2 in front. Ready to fight until the end, Andy broke back in the next game with a lob winner, delivering an impressive hold to open a 4-3 gap.
Returning at 5-4, a former champion converted the first match point, performing an incredible comeback and advancing into the second round. Andy's first comeback from two sets to love at Majors came at home at Wimbledon against Richard Gasquet in 2008, having to wait for more than four years (vs. Radek Stepanek at Roland Garros 2016) before embracing another one.