Andy Murray returned to the Swiss Indoors on Tuesday after a 17-year gap and squeezed past qualifier Roman Safiullin 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 to cap a comeback lasting two and three-quarter hours.
The Scot made his only other appearance at the home event of 10-time winner and now-retired icon Roger Federer as a teenaged neophyte in 2005, defeating celebrated countryman Tim Henman in the first round.
“I wasn’t really thinking about that on court,” the winner said. “It’s been an amazing (career) journey, though the last few years have not been that great (injury).
“I’m glad to be back and able to play a match like that.”
The 35-year-old added: “It’s a shame I’ve not been back. This event has a rich history, the fans supported me well today.
“Tp get a full stadium at 3 p.m. on a week day – that’s not always the case,”
The former No. 1 came from a break down in the final set after trailing 4-1; he broke his opponent’s final two serve to squeeze out the win on a second match point after firing 11 aces.
“He was serving huge and any opportunity he was hitting the ball huge from the back of the court,” Murray said of his opponent.
“As the match went on, I started to dictate a few more points and served better.
“I changed the way I was returning a little bit and when I did that I was able to create a few more opportunities and frustrate him a little bit.
“The third set could have gotten away from me. There were some near-misses from him, I just managed to turn it around. I did really well in the last few games.”
Murray’s season has been record-setting personally, with the three-time Grand Slam champion winning his 26th match, the most since 2016 when he won 78 before his hip problems set in.
Main photo:- Andy Murray celebrates in Basel – by ATPTour.com