Andy Murray defied the odds on Tuesday at the quarantined US Open, with the former champion who is coming off of two years of hip problems claiming a stunning win into the second round.
The Scot, playing his first Grand Slam since the 2019 Australian Open, defeated Yoshihito Nishioka in an epic 4-6, 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4), 6-4 after more than four and a half hours in the first-time meeting.
Murray’s first priority was to get immediately to an ice bath for recovery – which meant battling the tournament bureaucracy and the right to use the only one available on site amid the virus lockdown..
“They have one in the locker room and they said it’s for emergencies,” the 33-year-old said.
“For me this is an emergency. Right now my body hurts and I need to recover as fast as possible.
“I’ll ask and see if they allow me to use the ice bath here.”
Murray squeezed out victory with 14 aces and 10 double-faults, saving 11 of 16 break points.
He trailed two sets to love, was down a break in the third, saved a match point in the fourth and trailed by a break 3-2 in the fifth before pulling out the victory.
The former No. 1 who now ranks 115, won the title here in 2012 but has played only 68 matches since the start of the 2017 season due to two hip surgeries.
He began getting serious in his comeback effort last week, beating seventh seed Alexander Zverev at the “Cincinnati” Masters, also played in the locked-down New York venue.
Dan Evans made it a quartet of British Men through to the second round of the US Open for the first time since 1974, when Gerald Battrick, Mark Cox, Roger Taylor and Mark Cox all won their first round matches.
Seeded for the first time in the US Open Evans beat Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild in straight sets, 6-2,6-1,7-6 (5)
He now joins Cameron Norrie, Kyle Edmund and Andy Murray in the second round.
Second seed Dominic Thiem put in only a half shift, with the Austrian reaching the second round 7-6(6), 6-3 when opponent Jaume Munar retired injured..
Three-time grand Slam finalist Thiem spent less than two hours on court,managing nine aces along the way.
No. 105 Munar was playing only his 12th match at a grand Slam and now stands 1-3 at Flushing Meadows.
Thiem, ranked third, takes the second seeding here due to the absence of holder Rafael Nadal, who did not fancy making the trip to the States, world hotspot for the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 183,000 deaths from six million cases.
Roger Federer is out until 2021 after two knee procedures.
.”Their absence is never nice. Even if I’m a player myself, I love to watch compete,” the Austrian said. “But it’s not too big of a deal; it’s not the first time in a major that these two are not playing.
“In a few years it’s going to be every major without them, There are still many, many super players around.”
Russian Andrey Rublev, seeded 10th, defeated France’s Jerémy Chardy 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 while Italian teenager Jannik Sinner fell to 11th-seeded Karan Khachanov 3-6, 6-7(7), 6-2, 6-0, 7-6(4) in a comeback from the depths.
A pair of northern European young guns, Casper Ruud (Norway) and Emil Ruusuvuori (Finland) both earned five-set wins in their opening matches.