With his back against the wall, the former World No.1 Andy Murray rallied past Roman Safiullin 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 to reach the second round at the Swiss Indoors, here on Tuesday.
In a hard-fought clash, Murray showcased an abundance of grit as he rallied from 1-4 in the third set to eventually triumph after two hours and 37 minutes at the ATP 500 event.
“He was serving huge and any opportunity he was hitting the ball huge from the back of the court. As the match went on, I started to dictate a few more points and served better,” Murray said.
“I changed the way I was returning a little bit and when I did that I was able to create a few more opportunities and frustrate him a little bit,” he added.
The Scot was pushed from side to side against the big-hitting qualifier for large periods of the clash. However, he hung in and cut down on errors in the crucial moments to earn his 26th tour-level win of the season. It is the most match wins Murray has had in a season since 2016 when he recorded 78.
Murray, who is making his first appearance in Basel since 2005, will next play sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut or Serbian qualifier Laslo Djere. The World No.49 has now spent 11 hours and 23 minutes on the court in his past five matches, with four of the five going to a deciding set.
Earlier, Pablo Carreno Busta dispatched Sebastian Baez 6-2,6-1 in just 61 minutes. The Spaniard hit 20 winners and committed just seven unforced errors to set a second-round meeting against American Maxime Cressy or #NextGenATP Swiss Dominic Stricker.
Alex Molcan also advanced, eliminating Mackenzie McDonald 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and 31 minutes. The Slovakian will next play Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech.