Murray Battles Past Humbert In Metz
Andy Murray turned back the clock on Tuesday night with a battling performance at the Moselle Open in Metz. Having come under pressure at 3-3 in the second set, the former World No. 1 won seven straight games en route to a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 comeback victory over sixth-seeded Frenchman Ugo Humbert in two hours and 24 minutes.
“I had some chances early in the first set and didn’t take them, then he had his break point at the end of the first set and hit a really good return,” said Murray in an on-court interview. “He then had a good hold at 5-4. He played a little bit better and in the second and third sets, it was the other way around. He didn’t play well when he had his opportunities and I took mine.
“I’ve found it tough in the past few years that I don’t know some players that well and it’s difficult to play against them and win. Today, I felt I had a good game plan and executed it pretty well.”
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Humbert, who saved three break points at 1-1 in the first set, clinched the decisive break at 4-4. Murray saved two set points with volley winners when Humbert served for the set in the next game, but the World No. 26 secured the 54-minute opener with a smash winner, much to the delight of the crowd at Les Arenes de Metz.
Wild card Murray came under pressure once more at 3-3 in the second set, when he fell to 0/30 on serve, but the 34-year-old recovered with big first serves and turned the tables in the next game. Humbert saved three break points, but on Murray’s fourth opportunity, the Frenchman over-hit a forehand approach. Murray completed the second set, which lasted 41 minutes, with a backhand crosscourt winner.
A flurry of errors from Humbert gifted Murray a service break at the start of the decider and the Scot went on to win his seventh game in a row for a 4-0 lead in the third set. The pair’s second ATP Head2Head meeting (2019 Antwerp) ended with Murray striking an ace.
The 23-year-old Humbert had been attempting to record his 20th match win of the season. He upset Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev en route to the biggest ATP Tour title of his career in June at the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle.
Elsewhere, seventh seed Karen Khachanov lost just four of his first-service points (39/43) and hit 11 aces to beat French qualifier Alexandre Muller 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 in just under two hours. He awaits the winner between German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk and French lucky loser Antoine Hoang.
American Marcos Giron set up a second-round encounter against fourth-seeded Australian Alex de Minaur after he recorded a 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 win over Arthur Rinderknech of France. Meanwhile, Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina knocked out three-time former champion Gilles Simon 6-7(4), 7-6(2), 6-2 in three hours and now plays eight-seeded Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili.