Friday, October 8, 2021 - Andy Murray walks out onto the Stadium 1 court before playing Adrian Mannarino in Round 1 on day 5 of the 2021 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, CA. (Michael Cummo/BNP Paribas Open)
It marked their second encounter in Indian Wells, with the Scotsman having also claimed a 6-3, 6-3 victory in the Round of 16 in 2015. Murray now owns a 3-0 head-to-head advantage against the Frenchman.
“I’ve missed playing in these sorts of competitions,” said the three-time major champion and former No. 1 Murray, who due to pelvic injury did not play from November 2019 through August 2020. “It’s been a tough road to get back. I thought my mentality was good tonight. It was pretty breezy on the court, especially in the first set. But I fought for every single point. That was the goal coming into the match, and it got me the win.”
Murray, 34, found himself shoeless this week when, after airing out his sweaty Adidas overnight beneath, of all places, his car, he returned to find them missing. The problem was, his wedding ring was looped into the laces.
After an all-points plea via social media, the footwear — and the ring — miraculously resurfaced. It’s hard to know which loss would have proved costlier for the former No. 1, but the much-needed traction sure came in handy against Mannarino on Friday night.
Murray, who owns the most ATP Masters 1000 titles in the 2021 draw (14), broke for 4-2 in the second set, fighting through the windy conditions. With Mannarino serving at 2-all, 30-40 in the second set, Murray clobbered a second-serve return winner to pull ahead for good.
Mannarino, who missed eight weeks this summer due to a right knee injury, didn’t get a look at a single break point in the one-hour, 23-minute loss.
Murray moves on to face 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who last month broke through to his first major quarterfinal at the US Open.