Straight sets: Former world number one Andy Murray of Britain celebrates a point in his second-round victory over Radu Albot at Indian Wells
Indian Wells (United States) (AFP) - Former world number one Andy Murray didn’t need any marathon match heroics on Saturday as he eased into the third round at Indian Wells with his first straight sets victory of 2023.
Murray defeated lucky loser Radu Albot of Moldova 6-4, 6-3 – the one hour, 42 minute affair in stark contrast to Murray’s previous victories this year that included a five-setter lasting five-plus hours in the second round of the Australian Open.
The escape artist exploits continued last month in Doha, where Murray won four three-set matches, overcoming eight match points on the way to the final, where he fell to Daniil Medvedev.
He needed more than three hours to win his Indian Wells opener over Thomas Etcheverry in three sets.
Murray, 35, said the quicker win over Albot would pay dividends as the week progresses.
“You know, if you’ve had a shorter match, there’s probably less aches and pains, so it’s easier to sleep,” he said.
“The day off as well becomes probably a bit more productive, because there is just less fatigue, less soreness from the match.
“So (I am) probably able to practice at a slightly higher intensity and practice more specific things, whereas yesterday I just really hit a few balls, and that was it.
“Even this morning when I got up I was still a bit fatigued when I got up, bit of soreness in the lower back and things, which I would imagine by Monday that won’t be there.”
That’s a good sign for a mouth-watering third-round clash with fellow Briton Jack Draper, a 6-4, 6-2 winner over yet another Brit, Daniel Evans.
Despite a career that includes three Grand Slam titles and two Olympic gold medals, Murray said he felt nervous during Saturday’s match.
“I’m not sure exactly why,” he said. “Maybe I felt like it was a good opportunity for me and that the draw had opened up slightly.
“And obviously I wanted to try and finish the match quickly.”
The recipe for getting those quicker wins is simple, Murray said.
“Playing better will give you the chance to win matches quicker,” he said.
“I do know that being seeded in tournaments and having a higher ranking means that you’re generally playing players that are not quite as good as you, so if you go on the court and finish well then you finish the matches a bit quicker.
“Whereas for me, that has not been the case. Hopefully I can keep pushing myself up the rankings, keep building that confidence and maybe get a few more straightforward draws as well.”