2020 in Review: Andy Murray turns into ultimate fighter mode to pass R1



by   |  VIEW 1995

2020 in Review: Andy Murray turns into ultimate fighter mode to pass R1

Former US Open champion Andy Murray has never lost in the first round in New York, giving 120% to keep that streak alive in August. Andy saved a match point against Yoshihito Nishioka, prevailing 4-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 4-6 in four hours and 38 minutes, winning two points more than the Japanese to emerge at the top.

Nishioka grabbed five breaks, but it wasn't enough to carry him through, squandering that match point in the fourth set's 12th game and dropping four of the decider's last five games to miss a massive chance. Both players won 30 points in the opening set, and Nishioka used them more efficiently, fending off two break chances in the fourth game and creating the crucial advantage with a single break at 3-3.

The Japanese had 12 winners and nine unforced errors, playing better when it mattered the most to take a 6-4 advantage. Andy held in the first game with a service winner, with Nishioka leveling the score at 1-1 with a hold at 15.

Facing two break chances in the fourth game, Yoshihito fended off both with winners, forcing an error from Andy to lock the result at 2-2 and avoid the setback. After two comfortable holds on both sides, the Japanese grabbed a break with a smash winner to open a 4-3 gap, confirming the advantage with an unreturned serve in game eight 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. 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.

The Briton played well by the end of the set, pulling one break back but finding himself two sets to love down when Nishioka held at 5-4. Andy sprayed a forehand error in the first game to suffer a break, failing to return Nishioka's serve in the second to push the rival further in front.

From 40-15 up in game three, Murray lost four straight points in the third game thanks to another loose forehand, having to chase the result from 4-0 down.

Andy Murray prevailed over Yoshihito Nishioka from two sets to love down.

After three deuces in game five, Andy held to avoid a bagel, pulling one break back a few minutes later to stay in touch.

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 after 100 minutes and looking good to seal the deal in straight sets. Both players took 42 points in the third set, reaching a tie break that Andy claimed 7-5 to prolong the encounter.

With no rhythm in his strokes, Murray got broken in the third set's first game after a double fault, 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 at 2-3, breaking back to prolong the action and gain a boost.

At 4-4, Murray defended a break chance to remain on the positive side, facing more troubles in the 11th game when Nishioka created three break chances. Andy stayed focused, saving all of them with brave hitting and landing a volley winner to move 6-5 in front.

Yoshihito sprayed a forehand error in the tie break's 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 roar.

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 to match that, 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 after a forced error and send the encounter into a decider. In the first game, Murray saved a break point but couldn't do the same at 2-2, hitting a double fault to push Nishioka 3-2 in front.

Ready to fight until the end, Andy broke back in the next game with a lob winner and delivered an impressive hold to open a 4-3 gap. Returning at 5-4, Andy converted the first match point with another excellent lob, performing an incredible comeback and advancing into the second round.