US Open: Andy Murray battles past Yoshihito  Nishioka in tense first round meeting 
Murray celebrates an epic comeback (Image: Al Bello)

In what was Andy Murray's return to Grand Slam singles tennis the Scot pulled off a five set thriller against Japanese player Yoshihito Nishioka

Murray currently ranked 115th in the world required a wildcard to gain entry into the US Open. Murray recently had a good run at the Cincinnati Masters making it to the Round 16 losing to a rampant and eventual finalist Milos Raonic in straight sets.  

Nishioka on the other hand has had a very successful year reaching his highest ever world ranking (48th) reaching the 3rd round of the Australian Open, the Japanese best return at a Grand Slam tournament. Neither Murray or Nishioka have faced each other on the tennis tour yet. 

Murray on the backfoot 

It was going to be one of those frustrating days for Murray where he comes up against a determined well-drilled player. Murray would need to reach find that  much-needed fight and energy he is well-known for.

It was all level-pegging until 3-3 where Nishioka finally broke Murray with a well-worked point with the Japanese player setting up a well put away with smash gifting himself the 4-3 lead in the first set. It was then a fairly comprehensible hold with hard-hitting from Nishioka. The next game Murray's serve was firing which allowed the Scot to hold but Nishioka remained focused and served out for the set producing some spectacular tennis in the process. 

Nishioka lost from two sets up (Image: Al Bello)
Nishioka lost from two sets up (Image: Al Bello)

In terms of first set statistics both players were pretty even although the first serve seemed to clearly help Nishioka with 67 % of points won on this, and with 2/2 break points saved which proved to be crucial. 

Nishioka on the charge 

It felt like plain sailing for Nishioka 4-1 up and seemingly in control of the second  set and the match, Murray however is not a player who gives games away for free forcing Nishioka to serve it out. At this point it would be a long road back for Murray. 

All seemed lost at two sets to love and a break down, but like many good stories Murray would have his redemption arc after some fiery exchanges with coach Jamie Delgado. 

Murray fights back 

If there was anything to go from previous matches is that Murray is at his best when all seems lost, and the 33-year-old Scot had certainly possessed that warrior-like attribute out on court.

Murray rallied to claim victory (Image: Al Bello)
Murray rallied to claim victory (Image: Al Bello)

It was at 5-6 on Murray's serve in the 4th set that Nishioka had a match point which Murray managed to save which turned out to to be the turning point of the match. A strong serve followed up by an empthatic come on kept Murray safe with some strong serving to see out the game. Tiebreak at 6-6 not a lot separating both men, a lot was riding on this and both players knew it. Murray went on to win the set tiebreak 7-4 producing some of his best tennis in the match, scurrying around to retrieve Nishioka's hard-pinned forehands. There is a reason why he is former top 4 player. 

There were no fans in attendance, but it definitely felt like the come on Andy chants could be heard from living rooms across the UK. The final set wasn't a walk in the park due to Nishioka's continued resistance. Only at 4-4 did Murray finally break the world 48 players' serve then serving it out to seal the set and match. 

All in all it took Murray 4 hours and 38 minutes, and to think he underwent surgery 20 months ago. It is the tenth time Murray has been in this sort of situation with the lesson being you should never write off Andy Murray and his willingness to win; Round 2 of the US Open now awaits the British star.