NEW YORK, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Former champion Andy Murray produced an astonishing fightback to outlast Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 4-6 4-6 7-6(5) 7-6(4) 6-4 in his long-awaited return to Grand Slam singles action in the U.S. Open first round on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old Briton, contesting a singles match at a major for the first time since the 2019 Australian Open, appeared to be heading for an early exit as a fearless Nishioka outplayed him for two sets on a virtually empty Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Yet as he has so often done in his career, Murray simply refused to accept defeat.
He recovered for a break down in the third set and saved a match point late in the fourth before finally crushing 49th-ranked Nishioka’s spirit to claim victory in four hours 38 minutes.
It was Murray’s 10th win from two sets down and showed that despite two hip surgeries he remains one of the sport’s great warriors.
Murray, who won the title on the same court in 2012, looked off the pace as left-hander Nishioka dominated from the baseline to take the first set. He then fell away badly and was a point away from going 0-5 down in the second set before clawing his way back into the set.
Nishioka held firm though to claim it and was 3-1 ahead in the third before Murray’s comeback began.
Murray needed treatment at the start of the fifth set on a sore toe but would not be denied, claiming victory with a topspin lob that forced Nishioka to volley out. (Writing by Martyn Herman in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar)
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