Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - XX plays XX on day 8 of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Kathryn Riley/BNP Paribas Open)
No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev fought past a spirited effort from three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray in Stadium 1 on Tuesday afternoon, recovering from a break down in both sets to advance 6-4, 7-6(4).
Murray, a wild card entrant this week at the BNP Paribas Open as he endeavors to work his way back to the top of the game, was quick to capitalize on patchy play from the German, racing out to an early 3-0 lead. Zverev, however, cut out the loose errors and began rushing the net with intent, successfully finishing off aggressive baseline points with accurate volleying out of Murray’s reach.
In the blink of an eye, the set was Zverev’s.
The two-time Wimbledon, one-time US Open champ started off the second set similar to the first, digging deep and feeding off the energy of a partisan crowd firmly in his corner. Though Zverev would once again battle back and put himself in position to serve for the match in the twelfth game, a vintage Murray lob elicited an overhead error, securing a break back and sending the second set into a tiebreak.
This time it would be Zverev with the early lead, which he’d ultimately hold on to. In one last crowd-pleasing point, the players exchanged several quick-fire volleys on match point before Murray floated the last shot long, handing the 2020 US Open finalist the win after two hours of enthralling tennis.
Earlier in the day, California’s very own Taylor Fritz caused one of the upsets of the men’s singles tournament so far, kicking off play on Tuesday with a spectacular win over No. 5 seed Matteo Berrettini, 6-4, 6-3.
The American, whose ranking has hovered around the Top 30 for the larger part of his still-young career, scored one of his best wins of his 2021 season with an impressive display of tactical discipline against the 2021 Wimbledon finalist.
Berrettini’s forehand is one of the most devastating shots in tennis – explosive power laced with punishing topspin – but Fritz wisely targeted the Italian’s weaker backhand wing right out of the great, yielding great results early on as he sprinted to a quick 4-1 lead.
Although the Rancho Santa Fe native surrendered his first-set advantage as he attempted to close it out, another last-minute break of the Berrettini serve was perfectly timed to ultimately claim the set. Fritz’s efficiency in all aspects of his game continued into the second set, securing an early lead and this time not relenting, allowing him to close out the upset after one hour, 21 minutes of play on Stadium 2.
The No. 31 seed advances to the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open where he’ll face Jannik Sinner, who advanced after John Isner was forced to withdraw.