Murray takes scenic route to victory

By for on
Surrounded by the stunning mountains of Central California, Andy Murray took the scenic route to victory this afternoon against 83rd ranked Evgeny Donskoy. The rusty-looking Scot advanced to the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, beating the Russian number five 5-7 6-2 6-2.

Although the encounter was a ragged one from Murray’s point of view, the final two sets will be what he would have expected from a match-up against a mid-ranked big-hitter. The world number three would doubtless take the 5-7 first-set reverse as a trade-off for his seven-week respite from competitive action.

The afternoon was off to a bad start for Murray in the broiling Californian sun, as he slipped to a 1-5 first-set deficit, shanking groundshots wildly into the tramlines and generally looking like a man desperately searching for some kind of form.

When he pulled back to 5-5, the Scot seemed to have found it. But Donskoy, looking like the love child of Jimmy Connors and Tim from The Office, was a man possessed throughout the opening set.

With his careless-match-in-a-box-of-fireworks game, the Russian smoked some outrageous winners, not least a magnificent, towering lob at 6-5. Donskoy followed that up with a nuclear forehand down the line to bring up three set points, converting on the third with a thundering backhand pass that left Murray floundering at the net.

From there, though, it was one-way traffic. The Scot, who can overtake Federer as world number two in this event, began to impose his bigger, more-rigid matchplay on the Russian. Donskoy’s game began to look wild and ragged and Murray surged to a 5-2 lead, sealing the second set with a colossal forehand into the corner.

It was more of the same in set three. The British number one kept Donskoy off balance with a barrage of searing groundshots and exquisite dropshots. Murray raced to a 5-2 lead and concluded an entertaining match with a huge serve that the Russian bunted long.

The victory should help erase some nasty memories for Murray, who has tasted first-match defeats here both last year against Garcia-Lopez and in 2011, when Donald Young took advantage of the Scot’s post-Australian Open-final malaise.

A relieved Murray said afterwards, "I've been playing sets in practice, but nothing beats getting on a match court. I was definitely nervous, but I just need to get a few matches under my belt.”

Next up is Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu, a 7-6 7-6 winner over Martin Klizan.
Any mention of the celebrity yelping lines person?
March 10, 2013, 10:52 PM
By Connor

Well he got there in the end-and what would being an Andy Murray follower be without a little first set drama?! Smile
March 10, 2013, 10:56 PM
By Hazybear

March 10, 2013, 10:58 PM
By ProdigyEng

Just glad to finally get that monkey off his back. Solid performance after that start. Won 16 of the last 22 games.
March 10, 2013, 10:59 PM
By TheMadHatter


It was a good match. Both played well.
March 10, 2013, 10:59 PM
By Connor

Overall it went pretty much as I expected - slow start, steady pressure, snuff. Didn't expect Andy to drop a set though.
March 10, 2013, 11:06 PM
By Fiverings

Well done Andy,you got there in the end .Better next time.
March 10, 2013, 11:07 PM
By iamabritt

Excellent match from when I started watching at 3-5 in the first set. Donskoy was impressive, some of the rallies were superb and brought out the best in Andy. Lovely to see him using the back hand up the line, whenever Donskoy even thought about running round his backhand.  I've missed the big man, but I don't mind, cause it's all the sweeter when he comes back!
March 10, 2013, 11:07 PM
By lgriev10

All that fresh desert air has done something to his head!

Plenty good stuff in this match to make your puns and analogies Nigel.
March 10, 2013, 11:16 PM
By lashurst

Overall I'd say decent enough performance after 6 weeks off. Andy was ridiculously bad first 6 games but from them on began to play better and better. A couple of freak games at 5 all allowed Donskoy to take the first set but from then on it was one way traffic. I'm confident we'll see Andy in the semi's.

March 10, 2013, 11:20 PM
By Moozza

Just another day at the office and after 6 weeks its just nice to see him at work again.
March 10, 2013, 11:29 PM
By Rachie

Looking at that first set, I began to wonder exactly who was the world number 3. Certainly it wasn't Andy the way he was playing.

The match really for me lacked too much excitement, therefore, I kept switching from time to time to watching golf.
March 11, 2013, 12:33 AM
By OldScotSupport

A win is a win, no matter how 'ugly' it was to get there. cmonandy Hopefully I will have some coverage next match, though probably at work again Rolling Eyes

At would you adam and eve it, looks like word's spread about that scenic route to Novak Whistle
March 11, 2013, 02:19 AM
By Bevc

Thanks, Nigel. I also felt like he was playing ol' JC at times.

I'm currently in the process of re-watching it on my (non-live) TV coverage.

Always interesting to watch Andy when not emotionally invested.

Donskoy was hot... then not. Definitely has the skills tho' and I give him credit for taking it to World Number 3.

Andy was on simmer, and didn't boil over.

March 11, 2013, 02:31 AM
By scotnadian

Phew! Good going Andy. Donskoy played a good game but so glad you got him sorted out.  Nice report, Nigel.  cmonandy
March 11, 2013, 05:24 AM
By adb..OH

Bound to be rusty, as I said elsewhere Whistle We've seen many, many matches that have played out like this and should expect some early ones to be like this.
D. was inspired in the first set and played some spectacular tennis,  but I thought Andy played well from the second on and he's got another monkey, albeit a tiny one Wink, off his back.
Let's Go. yay
March 11, 2013, 07:16 AM
By blueberryhill

Enjoyed your report. I feel that we need to remember that having lost here for the last two years would have made Andy very nervous, coupled with the fact that his opponent came out all guns firing  this meant it would take Andy some time to settle into his game. Andy said that when you haven't seen someone play it takes time to work out their game, and this young man is a smart player who has some very good shots, so I for one thought Andy came through this test very well and he will build on this match and progress through the tournament. cmon yeah hug
March 11, 2013, 07:22 AM
By michelle

Thankyou for your super report it has cheered me up considerably. I heard a radio commentary on the first set which was painful in the extreme and then I had to wait with  growing apprehension for what I thought would be the inevitable result of a Donskoy win. How marvellous then to read your accounts of the other two sets proving that one should never give up hope.
March 11, 2013, 10:01 AM
By benniebone

Great match report clap

I expected Andy to be a bit rusty after 6 weeks of not playing. I'd already anticipated it going 3 sets.

What I think is important for Andy is the manner in which he turned it around. Once he got into his stride he was getting better and better, which has to be a good thing. In the end the first set looked like a relatively minor blip.

It's a bit obvious to say that this is the sort of match Andy could have lost in the past, but it is. In the past I think he could have got frustrated and not given himself a chance. There is none of that now. He kept his head down and got on with the job and was all over the second, and especially the third.

I think this one will put Andy in good stead going forwards this week.
March 11, 2013, 12:13 PM
By teejay1

Good report Nigel.  Thought Andy was nervous and tight in the first set, as one of the comms said 'Andy's body was in California but his mind was still in Miami'!  I never felt he would lose but he had to be patient (which he was) and his game eventually came together.  Good to see him play again and looking forward to the next roller coaster.   cmonandy
March 11, 2013, 02:53 PM
By Iris

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