Andy Murray says he's in the 'bad books' after losing ring
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ANDY MURRAY conjured a outrageous underarm service winner as he found his old magic to make teenage star Carlos Alcaraz disappear from the BNP Paribas Open.
The Scot lost the first set against the Spaniard he has tipped to be a future world No.1.
Alcaraz, 18, repeatedly deployed the drop shot but Murray gained his revenge in the third game of the second set with the sneaky serve on game point when the world No.38 was stood far behind the baseline.
The crowd loved the sheer cheek of the tactic he once described as a “perfectly legitimate play”.
And the three-time Grand Slam champion was inspired to go on to win 5-7 6-3 6-2 in gruelling heat in the Californian desert.
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It was the first time former world No.1 Murray has ever played a Tour-level match against an opponent born this century – and the 34-year-old was able to score a big win for the old guard.
It was a brave and brilliant win as the man with a metal hip was able to match the physicality of a man 16 years his junior on a slow hardcourt.
The double Olympic champion will face the winner of the tie between No.3 seed Alex Zverev and American Jenson Brooksby in the next round.
Wildcard Murray got off to a blistering start in the 90 degree Fahrenheit heat on Stadium 2 against a nervous-looking Alcaraz.
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He quickly led 3-0 and then had four break points to lead 4-0 but he failed to convert – and then had a set point at 4-5 when he dumped a backhand return into the net.
World No.38 Alcaraz, the youngest player in the top 100, immediately broke to love and took his second set point after 66 minutes when Murray steered a crosscourt backhand into the tramlines.
The Scot took the confidence from his underarm serve to break to lead 4-2 and took the set when the Spaniard made a rare error on a forehand drop shot.
Murray broke immediately in the first game of the decider and saved four break points in the next game before missing chances to take a 3-0 lead. But he made the double break to lead 4-1 when Alcaraz sent a backhand long.
It was the teenager who needed a late medical timeout when he slid to chase a Murray drop volley only to rip his shoe – and cause his foot to bleed.
And the Scot sealed the memorable win in just over three hours when he took his first match point with a serve and volley on a second serve.
Crowd favourite Murray, who is appearing here for the first time since 2017, said: “I had my chances in the first set but managed to turn it around. It was a brutal match. Three hours for three sets is a bit much.
US Open champion Emma Raducanu lost her first match but there are still three British men in the singles.
British No.1 Dan Evans will take on No.11 seed Diego Schwartzman while Cam Norrie face No.15 seed Roberto Bautista Agut.
“I am just so happy I am still getting to come out here and play. It is great to have fans back in the stands. I am so happy to get to share my tennis with you all again after four years.”
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