Andy Murray kept the conversation with himself flowing on Thursday as he battled for more than three hours to reach the second round of the Indian Wells Masters.
The Scot finally overcame Thomas Etcheverry 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4 to move into a match with Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta at the Tennis Garden.
Murray could be heard chatting with himself between points as the 35-year-old tried to psyche up for the test at hand.
The win was another epic for last month’s Doha finalist who skipped Dubai to rest for the North American hardcourt swing.
The 55th-ranked Murray finished off a rugged test against his South American opponent, ending with his six ace after pressuring Etcheverry with 20 break points – 16 saved.
Murray advanced with 29 winners and 41 unforced error.
“I really had to play my hardest,” he said. “I’m trying to make the most of my last tennis years.
“It feels great to win this one,” the 35-year-old said. Murray was constantly berating his play during a frustrating first set lasting nearly 90 minutes.
The 2009 semi-finalist saved a set point for his opponent in the 12th game but found himself in a tiebreaker.
Etcheverry earned a 5-1 lead but was hauled in by Murray, who saved another set winner but was caught out as the Argentine’s third chance just kissed the sideline to end the marathon set.
With Murray enraged at himself, the second set quickly turned into a rout in the Scot’s favour as he levelled the afternoon at a set each.
The agonising match was typical Murray, with the former No. 1 continuing his trend from Doha, where he saved 8 match points and needed four three-set wins to reach the final.
Main photo:- Andy Murray wins first round match in The Garden – by Pete Staples/ATPTour.com