» Sports » Murray beats Daniel for 700th career win; Raducanu and Halep rise

Murray beats Daniel for 700th career win; Raducanu and Halep rise

March 12, 2022 13:17 IST
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IMAGE: Andy Murray celebrates a point on his way to his 700th tour victory after beating Taro Daniel of Japan in the first round match of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Friday. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Andy Murray overcame a slow start and a third set service break to beat Taro Daniel 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the first round of Indian Wells on Friday and notch his 700th career win.


With the victory, the Briton became the 18th player of the Open era to achieve the feat on the ATP Tour.

"This was a target that I set for myself on the back end of last year," Murray said in an on-court interview.

"It's a lot of wins obviously, and I'm very happy to get it here.

"Let's go for 800 now."

It appeared Murray would have to wait to reach the milestone after Daniel came out sharp, attacking Murray's serve and cruising through the first set on a sunny day in the Southern California desert.

IMAGE: Andy Murray is the 18th player of the Open era to achieve the feat on the ATP Tour. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Murray, who is three years removed from major hip surgery, did not move well early on but sprang to life in the second, breaking Daniel at love when the Japanese player sent a forehand wide on set point to level the match at a set apiece.

Daniel won eight straight points to open the third and take a 2-0 lead with help from some sloppy play by the three-time Grand Slam champion.

But Murray would not give in, pumping his fist when he broke back with a forehand winner for 3-3 to the delight of sun-soaked crowd at Stadium One.

Nerves appeared to get to Daniel in the final game as he committed three straight unforced errors to give Murray three match points, and the 34-year-old converted his third opportunity to seal the win.

"I got off to a bit of a slow start," Murray said.

"I'm old now so with these 11am starts, it takes me a bit of time to get going.

"But Taro played extremely well. I lost to him in Australia so I was expecting a tough match," Murray said of Daniel, who beat the Briton in straight sets in Melbourne in January.

Tournament wild card Murray will look to notch his 701th win when he faces Alexander Bublik in the second round of the Masters 1000 tournament on Saturday.

In other first round action, Australian Jordan Thompson beat David Goffin in a tight three-setter, Australian John Millman battled past Jan-Lennard Struff and American Sam Querrey bested Tallon Griekspoor.

Raducanu and Halep rise, Pliskova and Muguruza fall

IMAGE: Emma Raducanu's victory against Caroline Garcia of France is the Briton's first at the WTA 1000 event. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Emma Raducanu, Simona Halep and Iga Swiatek all came out on the winning side of three set matches while former world number ones Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza were upset in second round action at Indian Wells on Friday.

Raducanu's 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 victory is the Briton's first at the WTA 1000 event as she looks to get her season on track after falling in the second round at the Australian Open and retiring from Guadalajara with an injury.

The reigning US Open champion came out hot in the Southern California desert, playing nearly flawless tennis to take the first set before Garcia responded forcefully in the second.

After exchanging breaks to begin the decider, Raducanu won the final five games to seal the win on a sunny day on Stadium One.

"It's amazing to be back and it's amazing to get my first win in the desert here," the 19-year-old Raducanu said in an on-court interview before a supportive crowd.

"I hope to come back for many years."

IMAGE: Simona Halep in action during her match against Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Halep's 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win over Ekaterina Alexandrova followed a similar trajectory as the two-time major champion breezed through the first set before running into resistance in the second and running away with it in the third.

"It's always tough to play the first match of the tournament and she is a very difficult opponent," said Halep, who now holds a 3-2 lead in their head-to-head matches.

"But I'm happy that I could win. It's important at this stage."

Swiatek needed time to find her serve in her match against Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina but once she did, the third-seeded Pole eased into the third round with a 5-7, 6-0, 6-1 victory.

With their wins, Halep and Swiatek remain on track for a possible semi-final clash.

IMAGE: Alison Riske beat Garbine Muguruza to notch her 10th career win over a top-10 player. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

In the wildest match and biggest upset of the tournament so far, Muguruza held a 6-0, 3-0 lead over Alison Riske before the American staged an sensational comeback to win 0-6, 6-3, 6-1.

With the win the 31-year-old Riske notched her 10th career win over a top-10 player and her third in five matches against the Spanish two-time major champion.

"After the first set, it literally could not get any worse," Riske said in her on-court interview.

"So if I could try to get two balls in the court we might get somewhere. I was just trying to hang in there. I've played Garbine many times before and it's always been a battle."

In the day's other big upset, Danka Kovinic stunned big-serving Pliskova 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 in a hard fought two-and-a-half hour match.

The match was world number eight Pliskova's first of the year after the Czech was sidelined with a broken arm.

Swiss Belinda Bencic and Ukrainian Elina Svitolina were also eliminated while American teenager Coco Gauff and veteran Angelique Kerber advanced.

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