Andy Murray came back from a set and a break down in the final set to advance to the second round of the Swiss Indoors on Tuesday, defeating Roman Safiullin 6-7(5) 6-3 6-4. The world number 49 was playing his first match in Basel since 2005, and got off to a winning start after a last minute change of opponent when Sebastian Korda pulled out and was replaced by the qualifier.
Murray and Safiullin took to Basel Center Court for the first singles match of the day on Tuesday. The pair had never met on the ATP Tour, but the 25-year-old outclassed the former World No. 1 during their Rennes Challenger match last year, winning 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 in another indoor event. .
They were quickly drawn into a close battle in the first set after the Russian broke loveless in game four before the three-time Major winner quickly broke. The first match went to a tie-break with Murray taking an early lead in a mini-break at 3-1, but it was the main draw debutant in Basel who roared to take it 7-6(5) in 55 minutes after the Briton will be heard screaming. frustrated when he hit the ball to gift his opponent a set point.
Despite losing the opener, Murray made just two unforced errors, although the world number 93 fired an impressive 23 winners. And the 35-year-old continued to struggle early in the second, finding himself embroiled in a seven-minute three-deuces game after leading 40-0.
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It was another marathon service game for Murray as he fended off five break points to hold after 13 minutes in a crazy final rally before finally earning a much-needed quick serve game as he held on to lead 3-2. The momentum finally began to shift in his direction as he was the first to break in the second set, taking a 4-2 lead before serving out at 6-3.
It was Safiullin who jumped first in the decider, breaking the World No.49’s serve on his fourth break chance to take a 3-1 lead. The World No. 93 moved closer to his second career victory over Murray, as he then held on from two to come within two games of the match at 4-1.
With the former World No.1 looking down the barrel of defeat, he was able to break and recover serve at 3-4, then held at 4-4 as he copied the Russian to win three games in a row. Having lost his lead, Safiullin began to feel the pressure as he began to spray errors and went 0-40 down, saving the first two break points but losing the third to allow Murray to serve for the match at 5-4.
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