Andy Murray saved two match points before winning an epic encounter with Frances Tiafoe at the European Open in Antwerp.

The former world number one emerged triumphant from a gruelling contest lasting three hours and 45 minutes, the longest three-set match of the 2021 ATP season.

Having warded off two match points in the decisive tie-break, Murray clinched a 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8) victory with a drop shot that landed just out of Tiafoe's reach.

"I think that's the first time in my career I've played a 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 [match]. I don't think I've ever played a match like that," said Murray, who next faces second seed Diego Schwartzman. "I think it's the longest three-set match I've played by quite a distance. I'm tired right now, obviously it was an unbelievable battle.

"Nowadays obviously my body is old now. I've played a lot of matches on the tour. I don't mind playing long matches, but that was taking it to another level.

"Brilliant match, amazing atmosphere, thanks to everyone who came and supported. It's just so nice to be back and playing in front of crowds again."

American prospect Jenson Brooksby left his compatriot Reilly Opelka flummoxed as the fifth seed was beaten 6-4 6-4.

Opelka was heard proclaiming Brooksby was the "best player I've played in my whole life" during the second set as he struggled to interpret the 20-year-old's service game. Brooksby will face Botic van de Zandschulp in the next round.

There was another upset when sixth seed Alex de Minaur lost 6-4 6-0 to Brandon Nakashima, who has twice reached ATP-level finals this year and will next face Henri Laaksonen, victorious over Benoit Paire.

Lorenzo Musetti needed two tie-breaks to defeat fellow Italian Gianluca Mager, while Alejandro Davidovich Fokina – quarter-finalist at the French Open this year – eased past Jordan Thompson 6-3 6-3.

At the Kremlin Cup, fifth seed Alexander Bublik suffered a surprise straight-sets defeat to Illya Marchenko, the world number 164 winning by a 6-4 6-3 scoreline.

Adrian Mannarino battled through against wildcard Roman Safiullin, but Laslo Djere lost in three sets to Gilles Simon.

Ricardas Berankis and Egor Gerasimov also progressed, while Guido Pella retired from his match with Pedro Martinez.

Andy Murray has called for more players to get vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of the Australian Open next year.

Unvaccinated players are expected to be allowed to compete, but are likely to have restrictions imposed on them in Melbourne.

The 34-year-old voiced his support for such restrictions, explaining that he understands why they would be put in place.

"My understanding is if you're unvaccinated you're still allowed to play, it's just the rules are going to be different," Murray said.

"You might just have to leave [for Australia] a few weeks earlier than everyone else. That's the player's choice. If the local government puts that in place then I would support that.

"It would be great if more players got vaccinated. Australia, in particular, has been very, very strict over there. The public there have had to endure a painful 18 months or whatever.

"If people are going to come into the country and potentially risk an outbreak in their community, yeah, that's understandable."

Murray was beaten in the Indian Wells third round by Alexander Zverev, who admitted he had not been vaccinated in April, on October 12 and the German declined to take a side in the debate.

"I fully respect the decisions of players that are not vaccinated," Zverev said. "I also do respect the decision that the Australian government is giving.

"I don't want to be in the middle of something which I kind of am not involved in because I don't have that issue of the two-week quarantine, all that. I don't want to go against anybody here."

Andy Murray is looking to give his body time to recover before the end of 2021 after going down to a narrow defeat against Alexander Zverev at the Indian Wells Masters.

Third seed Zverev triumphed 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in a hard-fought third-round battle with Murray on Tuesday.

Three-time grand slam winner Murray had previously defeated Adrian Mannarino and rising star Carlos Alcaraz in California.

He then ran Zverev close, with the German saying afterwards he felt Murray had produced his best performance since returning from hip surgery.

Murray agreed there were positives to take from his run, but was again frustrated not to get a statement win, having also fallen in five sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open.

The Briton may play ATP Tour events in Antwerp and Vienna over the next fortnight but is soon eyeing a break that means he will not be putting himself forward for the Davis Cup Finals, which take place over 10 days from the end of November.

Recovering some freshness and spending time with his family are on Murray's agenda ahead of the Australian Open early in 2022.

"I've given a lot to the Davis Cup, and sometimes to my own detriment physically," Murray told BBC Sport after the loss to Zverev.

"The same thing happened last time I played Davis Cup at the end of 2019. I know there was coronavirus, but I was struggling with that really up until September time the following year.

"I also don't feel right now I would be playing, either. Obviously that would be up to [Team GB captain] Leon [Smith], but I'm not sure I deserve to play in that team.

"Right now, I'm not planning on playing the Davis Cup and with the late finish to it, and early departure to Australia, with my schedule between now and the end of the year, I am going to have to rest and take a break and give my body a chance to breathe.

"And I want to make sure in the offseason I get to spend as much time with my family as I can because I have been away from that recently and that will be case when I go to Australia as well."

On the defeat to Zverev, Murray said: "The positive for me to take from it is I had opportunities again.

"I didn't feel like I played a great match and still had chances, so that's positive. But I'm disappointed because I want to be winning these matches. I haven't in the past few months."

Both players forced six break points each and fired down eight aces apiece in an even contest.

Murray broke Zverev three times across the two sets and led in each of them, but ultimately it was the world number four who progressed to book a tie with Gael Monfils in the last 16.

It was the first time Zverev had beaten Murray in three attempts and he has now triumphed against each of the Big Four, with previous wins over Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to his name.

Alexander Zverev overcame former world number one Andy Murray to reach the Indian Wells Masters last 16 as Stefanos Tsitsipas also progressed, but Matteo Berrettini lost.

Olympic Gamed gold medallist and third seed Zverev fell behind a break in both sets but battled past Murray in straight sets at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament on Tuesday.

Tsitsipas – the second seed – rallied from a set down to vanquish Fabio Fognini in the desert, while fifth seed Berrettini was a third-round casualty.

 

ZVEREV CLAIMS COVETED SCALP OF MURRAY

Having already defeated Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in his career, all that was missing for Zverev was a win over Murray to complete the 'Big Four' sweep.

Zverev added Murray to his list of scalps with a 6-4 7-6 (7-4) victory to reach the Indian Wells fourth round for the first time since 2016.

The German star has now won 19 of his last 20 matches since Wimbledon.

"He's the only one of the Big Four that I hadn't beaten yet, so I'm happy that I've done it today," said Zverev, who will clash with 14th seed Gael Monfils in the next round. "Obviously it was a fantastic match.

"I thought Andy played extremely well, maybe as well as he's played since the surgery. I hope he continues playing the same way, because tennis did miss him for a long time and I think it's good to have him back."

 

TSITSIPAS FIGHTS BACK

It was far from easy for Greek star Tsitsipas, who prevailed 2-6 6-3 6-4 against 25th seed Fabio Fognini.

Tsitsipas added to his ATP Tour-leading haul of match wins this season, which now stands at 53 after Fognini had been looking to score his first victory over the French Open runner-up.

Alex de Minaur – the 22nd seed – awaits after he took down 13th seed Cristian Garin 6-4 6-2 for his first trip to the Indian Wells last 16.

 

BERRETTINI BUNDLED OUT

Wimbledon finalist Berrettini was no match for Taylor Fritz, who surprisingly topped the Italian 6-4 6-3.

Berrettini entered the contest as the only player on the ATP Tour this season to register double-digit wins on three surfaces – 15-4 (hard), 13-4 (clay) and 11-1 (grass).

"We're coming to the end of the year, I could really use a big result," said Fritz after claiming his first top-10 win of the year. "This is just what I needed, playing one of my favourite tournaments close to home."

Andy Murray put his body to the test as the former world number one overcame teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz at the Indian Wells Masters, where stars Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev advanced to the third round.

Murray needed more than three hours to see off 18-year-old talent Alcaraz, who announced himself on the big stage with a quarter-final run at the US Open.

An Indian Wells runner-up in 2009, Murray was joined in the next round by second seed Tsitsipas and third seed Zverev on Sunday.

 

MURRAY WINS BATTLE OF GENERATIONS

Injuries have struck down Murray in recent years, but the three-time grand slam champion showed there is still plenty of fight left in the tank after rallying past debutant Alcaraz 5-7 6-3 6-2.

Facing a player 16 years his junior, Murray – making his 13th Indian Wells appearance – reached the third round of an ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time since 2016.

The 34-year-old Murray, who hit an underarm ace, improved his record to 27-12 in the desert following three hours, four minutes on court.

"He's obviously got so much potential, so much firepower and these conditions it's not easy to finish points off quickly, but he's able to because he has so much pace from the back of the court so I had to fight extremely hard, coming back from a set down," said Murray, who will next meet Zverev. 

"I felt like in the second set he played maybe better. First set I felt like I had more of the opportunities but didn't get it so yeah, happy with the way I fought. He's a top-drawer young player."

 

ZVEREV QUALIFIES FOR TURIN AS TSITSIPAS CRUISES

US Open finalist and Olympic gold medallist Zverev outlasted talented American Jenson Brooksby 6-4 3-6 6-1 to set up a showdown with Murray.

World number four Zverev ended the contest with 12 aces and 28 winners, having qualified for next month's ATP Finals in Turin thanks to the German's four tour-level titles in 2021.

"It wasn't an easy match, but I'm happy to be through, I'm happy to be in the third round and playing Andy now," said Zverev, who has won 18 of his last 19 matches since Wimbledon. "I think he's the only one of the 'Big Four' [including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer] I haven't beaten yet, so I hope I can change that. I think it's incredible how well he's moving and incredible how well he's playing. I think he's very motivated so I hope I can show my best tennis."

It was far more routine for Greek star Tsitsipas, who eased past Pedro Martinez 6-2 6-4 in his tournament opener.

Tsitsipas needed just 93 minutes to take down his opponent for his Tour-leading 52nd win of the season as the French Open runner-up awaits 25th seed Fabio Fognini for a place in the fourth round.

 

BERRETTINI ROLLS ON AS AUGER-ALIASSIME SAYS GOODBYE

Italian fifth seed Matteo Berrettini won through to the third round via a 6-4 7-5 success against qualifier Alejandro Tabilo – his first Indian Wells win following two previous appearances.

Felix Auger-Aliassime was the biggest name to depart the event on Sunday, with the seventh seed and Flushing Meadows semi-finalist going down 6-4 6-2 to Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Jannik Sinner, Pablo Carreno Busta, Cristian Garin and Gael Monfils were among the seeds to progress.

Three-time major winner Andy Murray marked his return to the Indian Wells Masters with a strong 6-3 6-2 win over dangerous Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in Friday's first-round encounter.

Murray, who had not played at Indian Wells in four years, won in one hour and 24 minutes with a disciplined display, winning 82 per cent of first serve points.

The Briton, who only faced one break point for the match, will next take on Spanish 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who enjoyed a fine run to the US Open quarter-finals in September.

"I think Alcaraz is really, really good," Murray said after the win. "I think he’s got a good chance at it."

On his own performance, Murray added: "I thought my mentality was good tonight. I sort of focused just on every single point.

"It's been a tough road to get back and it was so nice that so many people managed to come out and support today. I really enjoyed it."

BROOKSBY SETS UP ZVEREV DATE

Emerging American Jenson Brooksby triumphed over Cem Ilkel 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to book his spot in the second round where he will face third seed Alexander Zverev.

The 20-year-old world number 79, who was the runner-up at the Hall of Fame Open in July, prevailed in his Indian Wells debut in one hour and 44 minutes.

Brooksby dropped only four points on his serve, with Ilkel unable to generate a break point throughout the match.

The California native has been a break-out star in the latter half of 2021, reaching the fourth round at the US Open, entering the top 100 after starting the year ranked 307th.

 

SOCK PUT AWAY BY AUSTRALIAN

Former top 10 player Jack Sock was bundled out by Australian John Millman 7-5 4-6 6-3 in an epic first-round clash which lasted two and a half hours.

Sock, who has battled injuries in recent times and was handed a wild card for Indian Wells, pushed Millman all the way, with the Australian breaking to lead 5-3 in the third set before serving out for victory.

World number 61 Pedro Martinez made light work of Italian qualifier Roberto Marcora 6-4 6-0 to set up a second-round meeting with second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 24-year-old Spaniard triumphed in one hour and 15 minutes.

Former Wimbledon and US Open finalist Kevin Anderson sent down 10 aces in a 7-5 6-2 win over Jordan Thompson.

Andy Murray is "back in the good books" with wife Kim after his missing wedding ring was found at Indian Wells.

The former world number one had issued a plea on social media after his precious band was lost in bizarre circumstances.

Three-time grand slam champion Murray ties the ring to his shoes while he is playing and had forgotten to remove it when he left the footwear outside to dry out.

The shoes were taken and that left Murray in trouble back at home, but his appeal to be reunited with his belongings soon bore fruit.

"Huge thanks for all the messages and to everyone for sharing the story," Murray said on Instagram.

"I had to make a few calls and chat to the security at the hotel but would you believe it?

"They still absolutely stink but the shoes are back, the wedding ring is back and I'm back in the good books – let's go!"

Murray's Indian Wells Masters campaign begins against Adrian Mannarino in California on Friday.

Andrey Rublev needed almost two hours but his punishing forehand helped him to victory over Diego Schwartzman in the San Diego Open quarter-finals on Friday.

Top seed Rublev won 6-1 7-5 in one hour and 52 minutes over the Argentine, who kept on coming throughout the contest.

The Russian world number five's victory books his spot in the last four where he will face Briton Cameron Norrie, who upset fourth seed Denis Shapovalov 6-3 6-1.

Rublev is featuring in his eighth semi-final of the calendar year and chasing his first title since winning in Rotterdam in February.

He had been a break up in the second set after dominating the first, but Schwartzman broke back.

The second set appeared destined for a tie-break with Schwartzman up 40-0 on serve at 5-6, before Rublev won the next five points to claim victory.

"The second set was very tough and enjoyable for the spectators to watch," Rublev said. "Every game was really tough with amazing points and the set could have gone either way."

Second seed Casper Ruud defeated Lorenzo Sonego 6-1 6-4 to book his semi-final spot where he will meet Grigor Dimitrov who beat Aslan Karatsev in three sets.

Ruud's win improved his 2021 record to 45-12, with the 22-year-old Norwegian rising to a ranking of 10.

Andrey Rublev needed almost two hours but his punishing forehand helped him to victory over Diego Schwartzman in the San Diego Open quarter-finals on Friday.

Top seed Rublev won 6-1 7-5 in one hour and 52 minutes over the Argentine, who kept on coming throughout the contest.

The Russian world number five's victory books his spot in the last four where he will face Briton Cameron Norrie, who upset fourth seed Denis Shapovalov 6-3 6-1.

Rublev is featuring in his eighth semi-final of the calendar year and chasing his first title since winning in Rotterdam in February.

He had been a break up in the second set after dominating the first, but Schwartzman broke back.

The second set appeared destined for a tie-break with Schwartzman up 40-0 on serve at 5-6, before Rublev won the next five points to claim victory.

"The second set was very tough and enjoyable for the spectators to watch," Rublev said. "Every game was really tough with amazing points and the set could have gone either way."

Second seed Casper Ruud defeated Lorenzo Sonego 6-1 6-4 to book his semi-final spot where he will meet Grigor Dimitrov who beat Aslan Karatsev in three sets.

Ruud's win improved his 2021 record to 45-12, with the 22-year-old Norwegian rising to a ranking of 10.

Andy Murray's stay in San Diego was short-lived, as the veteran fell to second seed Casper Ruud in straight sets Thursday. 

World number 10 Ruud prevailed 7-5 6-4 over the three-time grand slam winner, rolling to victory after a shaky start. 

Murray broke Ruud in the 22-year-old's second service game of the match, but could not maintain the advantage as Ruud converted five of six break points in the match. 

Ruud will face ninth seed Lorenzo Sonego, who defeated Sebastian Korda 6-4 6-3, saving six of seven break points against his own serve while converting all three of his chances on Korda's. 

Fourth seed Denis Shapovalov defeated Taylor Fritz 7-6 (9-7) 6-2, saving six set points in the process. 

The Canadian moves on to a quarter-final meeting with Cameron Norrie, who downed Daniel Evans 7-6 (7-3) 6-3. 

Grigor Dimitrov dominated August Holmgren 6-1 6-1 in 56 minutes, winning 83 per cent of his service points.

Dimitrov next faces Aslan Karatsev, who rallied to upset fifth seed Hubert Hurkacz 5-7 6-4 6-2. 

Andy Murray and Kim Clijsters have been awarded wildcards for Indian Wells in October. 

Former world number one Murray will take part in the Indian Wells Masters for the first time since 2017. 

The Scot is competing in San Diego after opting to play the Moselle Open last week in a bid to improve his world ranking following a first-round loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open. 

Murray has now been handed a chance to improve on his career-best semi-final finish at Indian Wells in 2015, while Clijsters will also feature at the event, which will take place from October 4-17. 

Clijsters, another former world number one, started her comeback in 2019 after a seven-year break from tennis and will return to the tournament for the first time since 2011. 

The four-time major champion underwent knee surgery last year and made her first WTA Tour appearance since the 2020 US Open at the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic this week, losing to Hsieh Su-Wei in the first round. 

A two-time winner of the Indian Wells Open, Clijsters will be joined by Catherine McNally, Claire Liu, Katie Volynets and Katrina Scott. Newly crowned US Open champion Emma Raducanu was already a main-draw wildcard, with Ashlyn Krueger and Elsa Jacquemot also granted a place in the first round. 

A trio of Americans will join Murray in the men's draw, namely Jack Sock, Jenson Brooksby and Zach Svajda, with Denmark's Holger Rune also handed his debut as a main-draw wildcard. 

Former world number one Andy Murray earned a second-round clash with Casper Ruud at the San Diego Open after easing past lucky loser Denis Kudla in straight sets.

Murray – a three-time grand slam champion – defeated Kudla 6-3 6-2 in just over an hour, winning an outstanding 28 of 31 (90 per cent) first-serve points on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old Murray was also on top on return, converting three of four break-point opportunities against Kudla, to complete a comprehensive display.

Murray – currently ranked 116th in the world – will face second seed Ruud next at the ATP 250 tournament.

Elsewhere, Grigor Dimitrov was made to work for his 6-3 1-6 7-5 victory over Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.

Former world number three Dimitrov triumphed in two hours, seven minutes, confirming a spot in the second round, where he will face US Open semi-finalist Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Diego Schwartzman – the sixth seed – progressed with a 6-2 6-3 win over Italian qualifier Federico Gaio.

Young American Sebastian Korda beat Tommy Paul 6-3 5-7 6-1 in more than two hours, while ninth seed Lorenzo Sonego, Cameron Norrie and Lloyd Harris were also victorious.

Hubert Hurkacz's fine season continued as he ended Andy Murray's run at the Moselle Open on Friday.

Top seed Hurkacz beat Daniil Medvedev and Roger Federer on the way to the semi-finals at Wimbledon, and previously beat Murray in Cincinnati.

Hurkacz is ranked 13th in the world and is pushing for a place at the ATP Tour Finals, and he edged closer to a fourth career title by defeating Murray again in Metz.

The 24-year-old prevailed 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 over the former world number one, who was playing in his first ATP Tour quarter-final of the year.

"Andy is an unbelievable competitor, he has achieved so much throughout his career," Hurkacz said. "He is coming back from a tough injury and playing at a very high level, so he is amazing and you can be inspired by his results."

Next up for Hurkacz is Peter Gojowczyk, who overcame Marcos Giron 3-6 6-1 6-3 and is backing up his recent US Open run in strong fashion.

The other last-four match will take place between French home favourite and third seed Gael Monfils, who has reached his first tour semi-final since February last year, and Pablo Carreno Busta.

Carreno Busta, the Spanish second seed, needed three sets to beat Holger Rune, while Monfils had an easier time of it against Nikoloz Basilashvili, winning 6-3 6-3.

At the Astana Open, second seed Alexander Bublik beat Carlos Taberner 6-3 6-4, as he hunts a first singles title.

A crowd favourite in Kazakhstan, whom he has represented since 2016, Russian-born Bublik faces a semi-final against Soonwoo Kwon, who got past Laslo Djere.

Fifth seed John Millman succumbed to fellow Australian James Duckworth, who will face Ilya Ivashka for a place in the final.

Andy Murray is building confidence after he claimed back-to-back wins for the first time since Wimbledon by defeating Vasek Pospisil at the Moselle Open.

Murray followed up Tuesday's triumph against Ugo Humbert with a straight-sets victory over the Canadian, reaching the quarter-finals with a 6-3 6-3 success.

The last eight will see Murray face either Lucas Pouille or top seed Hubert Hurkacz, who he lost to in Cincinnati last month.

However, Murray has since played an exceptional five-setter with Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open and the former world number one and three-time grand slam champion is feeling increasingly positive about his game.

"This period has been the most tournaments I've played [recently] and my body feels good and I'm starting to gain just a little bit of confidence with each match," Murray said in his on-court interview. 

"[I'm] starting to see the points and how I want to play them again, which is great. There have been times in the past year where I've been a little bit confused and not seeing how the points are developing and stuff, which for me was always a strong part of my game and it made me feel quite uncomfortable on the court when I was feeling that way.

"I'm starting to get that back and the results are coming and my tennis is getting better."

The two other last 16 matches saw second seed Pablo Carreno Busta defeat Mikael Ymer 7-5 6-2, while fifth seed Lorenzo Sonego fell victim to a comeback from teenager Holger Rune, who prevailed 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-4.

Pouille came from behind to set up his clash with Hurkacz with a three-set win over qualifier Brayden Schnur, and Peter Gojowczyk was victorious in another first-round match.

At the Astana Open, defending champion John Millman came through a marathon match with Jaume Munar to reach the quarter-finals. The Australian took victory 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 after three hours and nine minutes.

Seventh seed Laslo Djere needed three sets to see off Lorenzo Musetti but eighth seed Ilya Ivashka had little difficulty beating Timofey Skatov in straight sets.

There were also wins for James Duckworth, Kwon Soon-woo, Emil Ruusuvuori and Carlos Taberner.

Andy Murray battled through to the second round of the Moselle Open with a 4-6 6-3 6-2 victory over sixth seed Ugo Humbert on Tuesday.

Murray chose to play in the event as a wildcard to improve his world ranking and avoid tougher first-round encounters, such as facing Stefanos Tsitsipas at the U.S. Open, and he recovered from going behind in the opening set to ease through his first-round tie.

Humbert, who is ranked 26th in the world, came into the clash 87 places ahead of the two-time Wimbledon winner but failed to make home advantage count as the Scot dispatched of him in just over two hours.

Karen Khachanov, who is the seventh seed in Metz, avoided a similar first-set scare to overcome Alexandre Muller 4-6 6-1 6-3, while Marcos Giron edged past Arthur Rinderknech 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4.

That win sets up a second-round tie with fourth seed Alex de Minaur, with Alejandro Davidovich Fokina sneaking past Gilles Simon 4-6 (4-7) 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 in Tuesday's other match.

Frenchman Benoit Paire crashed out of the Astana Open to world number 97 Egor Gerasimov as he lost 7-5 6-4.

John Millman, the fifth seed, did not endure similar struggles as he recovered from losing the first set to ease past Dmitry Popko 3-6 6-1 6-4.

Meanwhile, Ilya Ivashka coasted past Elias Ymer 6-2 6-4 in just over 90 minutes to secure his second-round berth in the Czech Republic.

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