Andy Murray escaped an early elimination on the second day of the US Open tournament. The injury-plagued Scot, winner in New York eight years ago, survived a match point and won after five long sets against Yoshihito Nishioka from Japan: 4-6 4-6 7-6 (5) 7-6 (4) 6-4 .
It was Murray’s first match on a grand slam since January 2019. Partly due to two hip surgeries, he dropped to 129th place in the world ranking.
In New York, the former number 1 in the world is unplaced, but he was allowed to perform at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. In contrast to his left-handed opponent, Murray had some competitive pace.
He already participated in the tournament of Cincinnati and won two matches with his wildcard, including against Alexander Zverev.
In the first set it went right at first. The 24-year-old Nishioka made few mistakes and that helped him to a 3-3 break. He did not give it up anymore, and then quickly walked away in the second set from the not strong serving Murray, who at that time barely got 50% of his first serve in the service field: 4-0. The Briton managed to take one more break back, but returned the set 6-4.
When Nishioka had several opportunities in the final phase of the third set to force the possibly decisive break, he failed to do so.
Murray took off with the tiebreaker and hoped his comeback had begun. Not that Nishioka played tennis much worse. The global number 48 kept a cool head, kept retrieving balls and hitting winners.
Murray survived a match point and forced a second tiebreaker, which he managed to win convincingly.
After requesting a medical time-out due to pain in his big toe, the decisive set could begin.
At Nishioka, after relinquishing a break, the burden of error increased and Murray took the set, and thus the game. On the important points, he was simply the more effective player: 6-4.
It all took place in Dominic Thiem’s quarter.
The second placed Austrian played tennis at the same time against Jaume Munar, who was unable to continue after two sets and gave up.
Murray now first meets the winner of the match between Thiago Monteiro and the great Canadian talent Felix-Auger Aliassime. They were also on the track while the Scot dealt with Nishioka.