Published On: Fri, Mar 8th, 2024

Andy Murray left with Andrey Rublev regrets as Brit loses Indian Wells clash | Tennis | Sport

Andy Murray was left to regret his missed opportunities as he blew four set points before crashing out of Indian Wells at the hands of Andrey Rublev. The No. 5 seed was playing his first match since he was defaulted from his Dubai semi-final last week. And he denied Murray the chance to sneak a set before booking his spot in the third round with a 7-6(3) 6-1 victory.

Rublev was back on the match court seven days after being disqualified from Dubai after screaming in a linesman’s face. The 26-year-old received a bye into the second round in Indian Wells while Murray advanced with a convincing win over David Goffin in his opening match.

The Brit was forced to save a break point early on but he started to cause all sorts of problems for the fifth seed. Murray failed to convert a couple of break points at 3-2 but he kicked into life a few games later as he sent a backhand winner flying past Rublev, throwing his fist into the air in celebration.

It looked to be a turning point as Murray suddenly had four set points as Rublev served to stay in it. But the 36-year-old was left to regret his missed opportunities as the Russian kept himself alive and eventually won the 66-minute first set 7-3 in a tiebreak, firing down an impressive 29 winners en route.

The 15-time title winner continued to break down Murray’s resolve in the second set. The former world No. 1 led by 40-0 on his serve before he was dragged into a brutal 10-minute game as Rublev was finally rewarded on his third break point.

Things quickly started to unravel for Murray as the match ran away from him. The 36-year-old was broken for a second time as Rublev raced towards the finish line, serving for it at 5-1. Murray tried to stay in it, saving the first three match points, but he succumbed to the relentless fifth seed in an hour and 47 minutes.

It was still a promising run for Murray in Indian Wells, as he played arguably his best tennis in months. The world No. 61 had a tough start to the year, losing in the opening round of his first four tournaments. He finally snapped a six-match losing streak in Doha last month.

But his performances in his match against Goffin and first set against Rublev were his most impressive of the season so far, even if the latter ended in defeat. The Brit will now head to Miami for the second Masters 1000 of the year as he hopes to build on his better form. Meanwhile, Rublev will face either Jiri Lehecka or Brandon Nakashima in the third round.

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