ATP Indian Wells: Andy Murray Moves Past Marcel Granollers

Andy Murray made a good start to his US outdoor hard court campaign as he found a way past an at times inspired opponent in the form of Marcel Granollers 6-4, 7-6(3).

Murray had a 5-1 head to head record over Granollers prior to this match, with his only loss coming as a result of the Brit retiring at one set all in their match at the Rome Masters 1000 event in 2013. Their last meeting on a hard court was won by Murray in a very similar score line to that of this encounter, with the world number two winning 6-4, 7-6(2) in the Rogers Cup also in 2013. This was Murray's first match since guiding Great Britain to victory over Japan in the Davis Cup.

Marcel Makes The Better Start

It took a few games for the world number two to settle in, struggling to adjust to the windy conditions in Indian Wells as he dropped serve to go 3-1 down. Murray significantly improved to take the next four games and put himself in prime position to take the set with a 5-4 lead.

Murray Takes The Opening Set

Serving for the set was not straightforward for the Scot as he had to elevate his game to respond from being 15-30 down. After a long exchange, Granollers was presented with a fairly easy put away at the net, but opted for an audacious pirouette volley, which he put into the net. Subsequently the first set was lost 6-4, despite the Spaniard hitting 14 winners compared to just one from Murray.

Both Players Fail To Capitalize On Opportunities

After a quick fire and uneventful opening seven games of the second set it looked as though Murray was keeping his side of the scoreboard ticking over, waiting for the Spaniard to crack, but the world number two was in for a fight. A very untimely double fault left the Brit 15-40 down, with Granollers eyeing up a 5-3 lead. Murray saved the first with a unreturned serve, before his opponent's drop shot was nowhere near good enough, letting the chances slip by. With the world number two going on to hold it proved to be a pivotal point in the match.

Murray raised his intensity in the ninth game, looking to strike at a crucial time as he bought up two break points. The world number two made several consecutive unforced errors to let the Spaniard off the hook as Granollers took a 5-4 lead.

Granollers showed flashes of brilliance, but it wasn't enough. Photo: Getty Images
Granollers showed flashes of brilliance, but it wasn't enough. Photo: Getty Images

Granollers Trying To Force A Decider

Granollers took great confidence from that hold, creating a window of opportunity at 15-30 on the Murray serve once again. Just as he did in the previous game though the world number two responded, leveling the score at 5-5

Six points in a row took the British number one to 0-30 on the Spaniard's serve, extending that lead to 15-40 after Granollers could not stick a second volley. The Spaniard resisted once more, winning three successive points to try and get out of jail. The world number 92 had to save another break point, which he did so brilliantly with a forehand cross court winner making the crowd come alive as the Spaniard made it 6-5. 

Clinical Tiebreak From Murray

The opening four points in the tiebreak played out like the majority of the second set, with both players squandering chances. A stunning running forehand down the line winner landed plum on the join between the sideline and baseline to secure the first mini break as Murray moved into a 4-2 lead. Granollers hit back with an exceptional backhand cross court pass winner, but that was to be his last winning point in the encounter as the world number reeled off three successive points to take the tiebreak by 7 points to three, securing a straight sets win.

Murray was watched on by former British tennis player Jamie Delgado, who finally confirmed on Saturday that he has joined the world number two's coaching team. The Brit will go on to face Federico Delbonis in round three.