Indian Wells: Rublev ends Murray’s journey

Britain's Andy Murray fell to a straight-set defeat against Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev in the third round at Indian Wells

California, March 9 (IANS) Britain’s Andy Murray fell to a straight-set defeat against Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev in the third round at Indian Wells. Three-time Grand Slam champion Murray, 36, was beaten 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 by Rublev.

The match unfolded with Murray showcasing glimpses of his trademark resilience, particularly in the first set where he held a 5-4 lead and held four set points. However, Rublev’s tenacity proved insurmountable as he rallied to claim the set in a tie-break, leaving Murray to rue missed opportunities.

As the contest progressed, Murray’s resolve wavered, and Rublev capitalized on the momentum shift, swiftly closing out the match with a dominant second set performance.

Murray, who had strong support on court two, kept showing glimpses of his talent and defeated Rublev with a well-executed lob as the players battled for the upper hand in the second set.

But Murray was unable to overcome a third break opportunity as Rublev surged ahead 3-1, becoming the first player to face pressure points in a service game he had led 40-0.

After being disqualified from the Dubai Tennis Championships last week, the 26-year-old Rublev prevailed in an appeal and did not let up, breaking Murray once more before winning his fourth match point.

Meanwhile, rising stars like Jannik Sinner and defending champion Carlos Alcaraz showcased their prowess, advancing further in the tournament with impressive victories of their own.

The 22-year-old Italian, ranked third in the world, won 6-3, 6-0, and will now play either Croatia’s Borna Coric or German Jan-Lennard Struff in the third round.

After losing the opening set to Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi, the defending champion Carlos Alcaraz, ranked second, rallied to win 6-7 (7-5) 6-0 6-1.

Australian Christopher O’Connell was defeated 6-4 6-4 by sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev, while French qualifier Lucas Pouille was upset 6-3 6-2 by 11th-seeded Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.

For Murray, the journey may have ended on the courts of Indian Wells, but the legacy of the three-time Grand Slam champion continues to resonate within the tennis world. With aspirations of competing in another Olympic Games, Murray faces a race against time to secure his ranking and extend his illustrious career, he must be inside the top 56 of the ATP rankings on 10 June.

The two-time Olympic champion, who turns 37 in May, is currently ranked 61st and won just two of his eight matches in the lead-up to Indian Wells.


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