INDIAN WELLS, United States – Former world number one Andy Murray and US Open champion Emma Raducanu got the ball rolling for Britain at Indian Wells on Friday with straight-sets Stadium Court victories.
Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion now ranked 88th in the world and playing on a wildcard invitation, rallied after a dismal first set to beat Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the first round of the prestigious WTA and ATP Masters event.
Raducanu, seeded 11th, reached the women’s third round with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 victory over France’s Caroline Garcia.
Murray notched his second win in three matches this year against Daniel — and also claimed the 700th ATP match win of his career.
“Reaching that number is a really, really good achievement,” said Murray, who is one of just four active players to hit the milestone after Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
“It has not been easy getting there,” he added, noting that he had reached 600 match wins in 2016 before his victory rate was slowed in large part by injury.
“Five and a half years to get the last hundred, so it has taken a while,” he said.
In the early going it didn’t look like a landmark day for Murray, who dropped the first set in just 28 minutes.
Unable to convert two early break points, Murray would eventually be broken at love four times before bearing down in the third set to seal the win.
“Taro played really, really well in the first set,” Murray said. “Certainly early in the second set I started to play better. I got up a break early and that relaxed me a bit.”
Murray powered to a 5-0 lead in the second set on the way to forcing the decider, then was broken in the opening game.
He leveled the set at 3-3, then saved a break point in a tense ninth game before breaking Daniel on his third match point.
It was another smidgen of revenge against the 106th-ranked Japanese player, who stunned Murray in the second round of the Australian Open before Murray turned the tables in the first round at Doha.
Raducanu got off to a strong start in a match she didn’t expect to be playing when a hip injury forced her out of a match in Guadalajara two weeks ago.
“It’s a bit of a bonus for me,” said Raducanu, who was hindered by a blisters at the Australian Open and was playing just her fifth match of 2022.
She got off to a smooth start, opening a 3-0 lead on the way to pocketing the first set in 26 minutes and breaking Garcia in the opening game of the second.
But former world number four Garcia clawed back, winning five straight games to take the set before Raducanu regrouped to cruise through the third.
“She plays extremely powerful and fast,” Raducanu said. “As soon as I let up, she climbed on top of it straightaway. I knew I had to make some adjustments in the third set.
“I’m really happy I was able to work that out in the match.”
Swiatek, Halep advance
In other women’s action, third-seeded Iga Swiatek of Poland and former world number one Simona Halep battled to three-set victories to reach the third round.
Swiatek, the world number four who is the highest seed in the top half of the draw after the late withdrawals of world number one Ashleigh Barty and No. 2 Barbora Krejcikova, dropped the opening set to Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina but lost just one game over the next two sets to triumph 5-7, 6-0, 6-1.
“I think at the beginning, I was too focused on the conditions. I was a little bit distracted by what was going on with the wind,” said Swiatek, who is coming off a title in Doha last month. “I’m pretty glad that I came back and I solved my problems and I could find my rhythm.”
Swiatek, who led the first set 3-1 and 4-2 before Kalinina reeled off six games to pocket the set, said she didn’t have to change much.
“I just knew I was taking a little bit too much risk in the first set because it was super-windy,” she said.
Halep, who lifted the Indian Wells trophy in 2015, defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
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