Provided Courtesy of Tennis - ATP World Tour, Read More.
The first day of 2019 may have been just the fresh start former World No. 1 Andy Murray needed, as the Scot began the new season on Tuesday with a 6-3, 6-4 victory against home favourite James Duckworth in the first round of the Brisbane International.
"I thought I did quite well. I think maybe both of us at the beginning of the match were a bit nervous, a few errors from the back of the court from both of us. But I think as the match went on, the rallies were a bit more entertaining," Murray said on court after the match. "I think for the first match of the new year after quite a long break, it was alright."
The 2012-13 Brisbane champion was limited to 12 matches in 2018 after undergoing hip surgery in January. And while Murray showed flashes of his former self in his comeback, earning two wins against Top 20 players in the ATP Rankings, he ultimately went 7-5 for the year.
But Murray, who is now 10-0 at the season-starting ATP 250 event, is beginning his return towards the top of the sport. The 31-year-old broke Duckworth three times in the one-hour, 28-minute clash, saving four of the five break points he faced.
"It's been really hard. Eighteen months, a lot of ups and downs. It was tricky just to get back on the court competing again," Murray said. "I'm happy I'm back out here competing again. I want to try enjoy it as much as I can."
It was an encouraging performance for Murray, who was made to sprint to the net several times by Duckworth in a rematch of their 2018 US Open encounter, won by Murray in four sets. The Scot, currently No. 240 in the ATP Rankings, also hit a couple of highlight reel shots. He showed how much it means to him as well, consistently pumping his fist and trying to get Duckworth’s home crowd on his side.
Murray will next face Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev, who won his first three ATP Tour titles in 2018. It will be the first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting between the pair.
On the bottom half of the draw, Denis Kudla earned a second-round match against second seed Kei Nishikori with a 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 6-4 victory against 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier and compatriot Taylor Fritz. Kudla was unable to convert any of the four match points he earned in the second set, but he withstood 22 Fritz aces in the match to win after two hours and 24 minutes.
Former Nitto ATP Finals Champions Upset
Brits Kyle Edmund and Neal Skupski spoiled John Peers’ hometown party, defeating the Aussie and his partner, Henri Kontinen, 7-6(4), 6-2 to reach the second round of the year’s first tournament. Kontinen and Peers triumphed at back-to-back Nitto ATP Finals in 2016-17.