July 21st, 2024

Andy Murray wins his opening match at what is expected to be his last Indian Wells appearance

By The Associated Press on March 6, 2024.

Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates after beating Denis Shapovalov of Canada during a match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) – Andy Murray began what is expected to be his final appearance at the BNP Paribas Open with a smooth performance and a straightforward victory, beating David Goffin 6-3, 6-2 on Day 1 in the desert Wednesday.

Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1-ranked player now at No. 61, never faced a break point while grabbing a trio of Goffin’s service games. From 3-all at the start, Murray surged ahead by winning the last three games and 10 points of the opening set on a cloudy afternoon with winds topping 10 mph (15 kph).

That allowed the 36-year-old from Scotland with an artificial hip to improve to 8-0 against Goffin, including taking all 17 sets they’ve played against each other.

Murray, the 2009 runner-up at Indian Wells, told reporters last month that he is likely to retire before this season is over, saying: “I don’t plan on playing much past this summer.”

He entered Wednesday with a 2-6 mark this year. He moved into a second-round meeting with No. 5 Andrey Rublev, who was defaulted from a match last week for screaming in the face of a line judge.

Elsewhere on the hard courts in California, wild-card entry Brandon Nakashima won the first tour-level match he’s played this season, defeating 2023 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Chris Eubanks 6-3, 7-6 (3), while other men advancing included Thanasi Kokkinakis and Christopher O’Connell. Winners in the women’s draw included three-time major champion Angelique Kerber, who is back on tour after becoming a mother, along with Tatjana Maria and Marie Bouzkova.

Paula Badosa, the 2021 champion at Indian Wells who received a wild card into this year’s field, pulled out because of a long-term back injury – a day after participating with boyfriend Stefanos Tsitsipas in an exhibition doubles match.

Thursday’s schedule includes 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal facing 2016 Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic at night. It’s Nadal’s first match on tour since early January, when he tore a muscle near his surgically repaired hip shortly before the Australian Open and withdrew from the year’s first major tournament.

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AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis

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