Andy Murray edged out Mackenzie McDonald in over two-and-a-half hours to claim his first tour-level victory since Eastbourne back in June. The Brit dropped the opener and won 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 to set up a showdown with countryman Kyle Edmund in the second round. Murray and Edmund last played each other at Eastbourne where Edmund won the match in straights.
Murray Goes Ahead Early But McDonald Takes Opener
In the early stages, there was plenty of optimism for Murray with the crowd behind him as the fans were looking to give the Brit some energy to feed off of. The three-time Grand Slam champion broke McDonald’s serve to open the match and got out to the quick 2-0 lead before giving it right back with the American claiming two breaks and three straight games, capping off the fifth game with a massive forehand cross-court winner.
The former UCLA Bruin McDonald was firmly in control of the set, dropping only one more game en route to taking the opener 6-3. McDonald was really pushing Murray, never leaving the baseline and continuing to attack with his forehand. A backhand wide helped clinch the opening set to the American.
Murray Forces The Decider
Murray and McDonald traded breaks to start the set, but after those first two breaks, each player began to find a groove. The Brit was beginning to find his rhythm and depth while rallying and looked to really push on to try and force a decider. He broke in the ninth game at his first time of asking to be able to serve for the set.
It was cool as you like from the Brit on this humid, muggy day. A serve down the tee left McDonald waning and forced a return into the net to force the decider.
Seven Is Indeed Lucky For Murray
Murray brought his momentum from the second set into the third. He had two break chances at 15-40 with McDonald continuing to grind, but it was to no avail as Murray broke to start the final set on his fifth try. With very little looks in on the opposing serve, the former world number one looked to close it out in the 10th game. He had five match points but hit second serves on all of them and even had to save break points after some questionable decision making.
The McDonald forehand proved to be the vital shot once again as he broke after hitting one out wide, forcing Murray to retreat. A controversial point at 5-5, 30-30 in the final set took place when the American could not put away two overheads then reached over the net to put away a volley. That would set up a break point for the Brit which would be converted after the American knocked his trademark forehand long.
Just when you thought there couldn’t be another twist into this match, McDonald provided it by sending a backhand pass past Murray on his sixth match point, sending the 12th game to deuce. A cross-court forehand winner set up match point, and it would be seven as the lucky number for Murray as McDonald knocked a forehand long to the delight of Murray who let out a massive “YEAH” after his hard-fought win.