De Minaur Saves 3 MPs In Beijing, Stays Perfect Against Murray
Alex de Minaur became just the fourth player to earn five consecutive victories against Andy Murray on Thursday, when he saved three match points to edge the 36-year-old 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(6) at the China Open.
The Australian trailed 2-5 in the decider, but refused to go away, saving two match points on serve at 2-5 and one more at 5/6 in the tie-break to advance after two hours and 53 minutes.
"I think to be honest we both didn't bring out best level today," De Minaur said. "It was a scrap fest and was not pretty but I am happy I was able to get my first win in a long time when I have saved some mach points.
"I kept my head screwed on and I told myself to keep trying and to keep backing myself and eventually I was going to find my level. I am very happy to turn that match around."
De Minaur now leads Murray 5-0 in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series, having defeated the former World No. 1 in Monte-Carlo and Queen’s Club earlier this year. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are the only other players to record five consecutive victories against Murray, who triumphed in Beijing in 2016.
The World No. 12 will next face second seed Daniil Medvedev or Tommy Paul in the second round. De Minaur, who is 17-3 in first-round matches in 2023, captured the biggest title of his career at the ATP 500 in Acapulco in March.
In other action, Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina earned the 50th hard-court tour-level win of his career when he moved past Chinese wild card Yi Zhou 6-2, 6-2. The 24-year-old, who now holds an 18-5 first-round record in 2023, hit 20 winners to advance after 70 minutes.
Qualifier Matteo Arnaldi continued his impressive run, defeating American J.J. Wolf 6-2, 6-2. The Italian, who competed at the Next Gen ATP Finals in 2022, is up six spots to No. 42 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.
Tomas Martin Etcheverry defeated World No. 149 Lloyd Harris 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 6-3 to earn his 11th consecutive win against players ranked outside the Top 100. The Argentine saved the one break point he faced in the match, advancing after two hours and 54 minutes. The World No. 31 will next play seventh seed Casper Ruud or German Jan-Lennard Struff.
Ugo Humbert levelled his Lexus ATP Head2Head series against Lorenzo Sonego at 2-2, downing the Italian 7-5, 3-6, 6-0 to set a second-round meeting against fifth seed Andrey Rublev or Briton Cameron Norrie.