After undergoing multiple hip surgeries and dealing with a pandemic, former World No. 1 Andy Murray is back playing on the grass at Wimbledon for the first time since the 2017 edition. On Monday, he was able to get a hard-fought win over 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in 3 hours and 32 minutes.
This is a match that could have concluded much sooner than it actually did. Murray held a lead of 5-0 and held two match points in the third set but Basilashvili somehow came back to life. He won seven games in a row and broke Murray’s serve four times in the set. So instead of a straight sets victory, Murray battled and ended up winning a 68-minute fourth set to win the match.
Besides the hiccup in the third set, Murray was the better player. He served 17 total aces without recording a double fault and won almost half of his second serve points. He also won 47 percent of his points when returning serve. The hard-hitting Basilashvili tends to play a more risky and inconsistent game and that was evident given his 32 winners and 59 unforced errors. Murray played a much more controlled game, recording 37 winners and 33 unforced errors.
Murray awaits the winner of Oscar Otte and Arthur Rinderknech, who are currently stuck in a five-set battle. The match was suspended on Monday and will resume on Tuesday on Court 8 with the score at 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-7. 9-9. Both are qualifiers, ranked outside the top 100 and have never played against Murray.
This bodes well for Murray as he will be the better rested player. And given the lack of matches under his belt this year, he should be happy with any advantages he can get ahead of a match.
Stats courtesy of IBM SlamTracker