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Murray pulls off thrilling comeback victory over Nishioka at US Open

Andy Murray produces stunning comeback from two sets down in US Open first round to beat Yoshihito Nishioka on his Grand Slam return after 20 months out

  • Andy Murray sealed his progression to the US Open second round in some style
  • Murray overcame Yoshihito Nishioka 4-6 4-6 7-6 7-6 6-4 at Flushing Meadows
  • Murray was down a match point in the fourth set and a break in the decider
  • But he refused to lie down during his first Grand Slam singles match in 596 days

The flesh may be weakening but Andy Murray’s spirit is as strong as ever, and on Tuesday night he produced a sensational comeback on his return to Grand Slam tennis.

The 33 year-old Scot and his bionic hip took down Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 4-6 4-6 7-6 7-6 6-4 to make the second round of the US Open with yet another never say die performance.

Down a match point in the fourth set and a break in the decider he refused to lie down, and eventually broke his opponent’s spirit to win in four hours and 40 minutes.

Andy Murray sealed a stunning comeback in the US Open first round vs Yoshihito Nishioka

The former world No 1 took down Nishioka 4-6 4-6 7-6 7-6 6-4 at Flushing Meadows

The pair embrace at the net following the thrilling first-round contest at the US Open

After his victory, Murray admitted he was apprehensive of going the distance against Nishioka

Seemingly faster than the bullet train in his retrieving around the baseline, Murray was well aware of the threat that the Japanese world number 48 posed when he walked out onto the vast, deserted Arthur Ashe Stadium.

This was always going to be a difficult reintroduction to best-of-five-tennis after a 20-month absence. Nishioka has only been playing exhibitions during lockdown at home until now, but the diminutive left-hander was good enough to defeat Dan Evans in straight sets at January’s Australian Open.

Despite the clear and present danger Murray came out desperately flat, for all that he opened proceedings with a magnificent lob on the very first point in his first singles Major since Melbourne 2019.

For a long while it looked like he was going to acquit himself way worse than on that emotional evening when he fought back from two sets down to force Spanish workhorse Roberto Bautista Agut to five sets. By remarkable coincidence, the first four sets mirrored the scoreline of that match.

It ended in heartbreak for Nishioka after being in a commanding two-set lead in the first round

Murray had to dig deep against Nishioka to ensure his stay at the US Open wasn’t brief

An early break point was squandered and then Murray, who was landing only four out of ten first serves in the court, went behind for 4-3.

There was little penetration on his first serve, the forehand could not punch any holes and he was getting repeatedly passed at the net for the first hour and a half.

Nishioka seemed to be comfortably playing within himself as he went up 4-0 in the second, and the question raised itself about whether the Scot had been hiding some injury setback from the past few days.

His body language was lifeless and he looked every inch the world number 115 – which is the reality after his prolonged absence from the tour – and it was difficult to credit that only last week he had beaten American Frances Tiafoe and Germany’s world number seven Alex Zverev.

Of course 33 used to be considered fairly ancient for a tennis player, and the Scot was playing like a throwback to that era. Among the surprising aspects was how little success he was having against his opponent’s eminently attackable second serve.

Murray showed plenty of tiredness but found that grit to enjoy an incredible comeback

It appeared as if Nishioka would prove too much for Murray after racing into a two-set lead 

Starved of any atmosphere to feed off the in the 25,000-seat arena, the scene of so many triumphs, he vaguely stirred at 0-4 down in the second, when his first ‘doughnut’ set beckoned since Roger Federer wiped him out at London’s 02 Arena in 2014.

Most of his openings came through creeping unforced errors on the Japanese side, and it was only after more than two hours’ play that we started to see a more familiar version of Murray.

He recovered an early break in the third, showcasing his volleying skills, and gradually he began to crank up his forehand. In the tiebreak he repeatedly struck out off that flank to edge ahead of his opponent. He made no mistake after getting ahead for 6-4, clinching his second set point by forcing his opponent back in the court and finally letting out the old war cry.

In the locker room the players know that Murray is less explosive, not the physical specimen he once was, but that sooner or later his fighting spirit is likely to come to the fore. What was strange on Tuesday night was just how long that process took, possibly connected to the feeling of inertia created by the empty stands.

Murray was playing his first Grand Slam singles match in 596 days after injury rehabilitation

There was an eerie feel at the US Open as Murray battled it out with his Japanese opponent 

The low, skiddy serve from the other end was continuing to cause Murray problems and he struggled to gain any headway against it in the fourth, while regularly having to fend off break points. It was to Nishioka’s credit that he did not allow the disappointment of the tiebreak to cause any major momentum swing.

It was the former world number one having strain every sinew to stay in the match. Two uncharacteristically poor volleys led to him facing a first match point at 5-6, but a pinpoint first serve that Nishioka returned long saved him and secured the second tiebreak.

The less experienced player’s nerve then proved the weaker and, with over four hours already on the clock, Murray took it into the denouement 7-4 with some.

The last of the British male quartet to play their first round was in action on Tuesday night, national number one Evans taking on Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild.

* Austria’s Dominic Thiem, who was in first round action on Tuesday night, was given an unusual code violation for ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’ before he had even taken to the court. The official USTA explanation was that members of his entourage had been found not to be wearing their compulsory masks in all areas around the site.

* Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, the former world number six, has announced that she has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and that she faces six months of chemotherapy treatment.

Host commentator

And that’s all for today, folks!

Thank you very much for joining us for what was a thrilling match as Murray came from two sets behind to beat Nishioka in the US Open first round.

Have a fantastic week!

“I am tired. My toes are the worst part, my big toes on both sides are pretty beat up. But I did alright physically. At the beginning of the match, I was apprehensive to play a long match. But when I went two sets down I had to put the after-burners on.

On what Murray was thinking at two sets down: “I had to start striking the ball a little bit better. I was hitting the ball a bit late and too tentatively and then went the other way and was making errors. I had to get my balance right. I think I served fairly well at the end, not so much at the beginning.”

On Nishioka: “I have seen some of his matches, he is a very very good player – extremely tricky – and I was struggling to break him. But when I saw his previous matches, I know guys had come back.”

On where he goes from here: “I need to recover as best as I can as that’s by far the most tennis I have played since 2019 when I faced Bautista at the Australian Open.”

After 20 months away from Grand Slam action, is there a more fulfilling way to win for the former world No 1?

He was down two sets to love but battled back incredibly to seal his progression to the second round!

Can Nishioka hold his nerve when he needs to the most?

He starts off well as Murray hits a backhand into the tramlines. 15-0.

Murray responds with some excellent aggressive play before firing a forehand winner out wide. 15-15.

Murray then forces Nishioka into an unforced error. He is closing in on what would be an exceptional victory. 15-30.

However, he lets Nishioka back into it after being a little over-anxious on the forehand, hitting into the net as he attempted to find the winner down the line. 30-30.

And again it’s another unforced error from Murray, striking a loose backhand wayward. 40-30.

Then it’s Nishioka’s turn for the unforced error, hitting his forehand into the right tramlines. 

But Murray is now just one point from the win!! AND HE HAS DONE IT! 

He ends it with a lob from the back of the court, which Nishioka gets to but can only hit long from above his head.

Fast start from Nishioka on Murray’s service game after turning defence into attack. After hooking a forehand deep into Murray’s corner, he opened up the forehand down the line.

Nishioka then throws his racket down to the floor after an unforced error. 15-15.

Now it’s Murray’s turn to be disappointed again as he smashes a tired backhand into the net. 15-30.

And then the nerves seem to have failed Nishioka then. He has the advantage has the opportunity to hit a winning forehand down the line but he goes long. Good defence from Murray. 30-30.

Murray then roars in delight after hitting one of his finest forehands of the match before he eventually sees out the game. He finds himself a game away from a place in the second round…

More straight-forward this time for Nishioka after going into a commanding 40-0 lead. 

He should wrap the game up after coming into the net before opting for the drop shot… but it was way too casual from the Japanese star.

And Murray now sees an opening after Nishioka goes long. 40-30.

But Nishioka responds with a strong serve out wide, which Murray can only return long too. Four apiece.

 

Murray races into a 30-0 lead after firing down his 14th ace of the match. He then pulls Nishioka out wide on his first-serve.

And he wraps up the game to make it 4-3 with consummate ease after unleashing an emphatic forehand winner.

That is a fantastic rally, which Murray comes out on top of. He takes the early advantage on Nishioka’s serve after nearly 4 hours and 20 minutes on the court.

Nishioka responds but then Murray capitalises again, going on the attack by rushing into the net. Nishioka tries to find the winner down the line but Murray anticipates with a deft volley. 

Then at 30-30, we witness another good rally which Murray grinds out. Advantage and a break point…

And he has done that! Immaculate backhand lob to bounce straight back. Fantastic tennis!

Excellent footwork from Nishioka before finding the backhand winner to move into a 0-15 lead on Murray’s serve.

But Murray, whose forehand has got better and better as the match has gone on, fires down a powerful winner cross court. However, he shouts in anger as he makes an unforced error. 15-30… and a potential situation developing!

Nishioka can’t return Murray’s serve… which the replays show was actually out! 30-30.

Nishioka then shows firepower of his own by smashing a forehand winner after a short reply from Murray. He steps in and takes advantage. Break point…

Then that is a catastrophic way to drop serve… with a double-fault!

Murray once again has to come from behind.

Nishioka holds his nerve to race into a 40-15 lead. 

He then fires an ace down the centre of the court. That is excellent serving in that game from the 24-year-old Japanese star.

The 2012 US Open winner surges into a 40-0 lead in the third game of the fifth set before producing an excellent ace to take a 2-1 advantage in the decider.

Showing real heart and desire out there after being on the brink of a first-round exit!

That is exceptional from Nishioka after an incredible rally. He shows such clever movement before sliding into a low volley, getting the rackethead underneath the ball before playing the most delicate angle, which Murray can’t quite get to. 15-0.

But Murray responds with a powerful backhander on Nishioka’s serve. 15-15.

Nishioka then takes the 30-15 lead as Murray hits long. Then the Japanese star missed his first smash of the afternoon – could it prove costly?

Murray has invested quite a bit in this game, and he looks very tired now. He hits a loose forehand into the net before Nishioka wraps up the game.

Can Murray come back from the brink yet again?

Well it’s a positive start from his opponent who fires down an early winner on Murray’s opening serve. But the Brit responds to make it 15-15.

Murray then has to show his agility to unleash an overhead winner as Nishioka went on the defensive. 

But that’s fantastic from Nishioka and showing he definitely won’t go down without a fight. He produces a brilliant backhand winner down the line. 30-30.

And Nishioka now has an early break point after Murray fires a loose forehand wide into the tramlines. He is furious with himself.

But it’s nerves of steel from Murray. He produces a brilliant serve-forehand combination to take it into deuce before hitting another emphatic winner. Advantage Murray!

And he takes the first game as Nishioka hits his return of serve into the net. Murray’s toughness shines through once more…

Murray grimaced after losing the last point. Is that something to be worried about?

Doesn’t appear so as Murray is the aggressor once more, forcing Nishioka around the court before hitting an emphatic forehand, which his opponent can’t return. 5-2.

Nishioka is then wayward with a forehand. 6-2. Four set points.

He grabs a point back by punching a backhand down the line after making Murray work for it. However, he is still shaking his head in disappointment in letting this big lead slip. 

Murray then smashes a tired backhand into the net. 6-4. Set point No 3 coming up…

And we go into a DECIDER after he wins the tie-break 7-4! Murray’s defiance is just brilliant! 

Nishioka, on his serve, drags his backhand wide. Early advantage to Murray in the fourth set tie-break!

Murray then takes a 2-0 lead as Nishioka hits a loose shot into the net. But that is poor from the Brit, as he tries to feather a drop shot over the net following Nishioka’s net chord. However, it drops well short and he gives back the advantage. 2-1.

But Murray then reclaims his advantage after going on the attack, smashing an overhead volley for the winner. He shouts ‘Let’s go!’… as Nishioka starts to drop off! 3-1.

Then Murray goes on the front once more on the forehand and Nishioka’s dreams look like they will be put on hold again. 4-1.

However, Murray makes an unforced error, hitting a backhand into the net. 4-2.

Murray holds his nerve with a quality first serve. He roars ‘Come on’ after giving himself a lifeline. Back to deuce.

The tension is palpable. 

And Murray grabs the advantage after Nishioka hits into the net. He then takes the fourth set into another TIE-BREAK as his opponent hits long.

Murray changes the angle of the attack into Nishioka’s forehand before the latter’s return goes long. 15-0.

Then that’s a brilliant defence from Murray, who on the stretch on the backhand forces Nishioka to play low on the volley before hitting into the net. 30-0.

Nishioka then punishes Murray’s second serve, really pinpointing Murray’s backhand with a quality return. 30-15. 

That is very wasteful from Murray. Can you believe that? He strides into the net for a simple high volley but he somehow hits it into the tramlines. 30-30… and is the pressure on?

But Murray breathes a huge sigh of relief as Nishioka fails to capitalise on the Brit’s second serve by striking his forehand into the net. Poor return by his standards. 40-30.

However, Nishioka pegs Murray back to deuce, flicking a passing shot down the line as Murray came into the net. Should have been 6-6 but instead he is now serving at deuce to stay in the match.

And that is a fantastic shot from Nishioka, a quality backhand as Murray hurried into the net.

Again, it’s easy on the service game. Nishioka surges to the 11th game of the set – another hold to love.

Too many of those for Murray’s liking in the fourth set. Nishioka now has another shot at going through to the second round…

Another straight-forward service game for Murray, despite Nishioka coming in with the mindset of winning this game, and winning the match.

The Brit races into a commanding 40-0 advantage before striking into the net after Nishioka went on the attack.

But he then wraps the game up. It’s five apiece in the fourth set.

Murray starts off on the defensive in Nishioka’s service game and his opponent punishes him by smashing an overhead winner. 15-0.

At 30-15, Nishioka produces a beautiful forehand winner down the line. Murray does well to come forward and close the angle for his opponent, but the Japanese player punches it down the line.

Then Nishioka manages to keep Murray at bay once again. Another tie-break calling?

Murray on serve again and he starts off well as Nishioka pushes his forehand return long. 15-0.

And he follows that up with two aces. Can’t have asked for a better game for himself so far. 

Then he wraps it up as Nishioka’s return drops wide. A clean and quiet game for the former world No 1. 

It’s an ace first up for Nishioka before he smashes an overhead volley for the winner. Solid stuff from the Japanese star so far. 30-0.

Murray – who is in constant dialogue with his box – then finds the energy to produce a strong backhand, which Nishioka can only push into the net.

But Nishioka responds with another ace before Murray hits long. Game Nishioka! 

Brilliant stuff from Nishioka as he produces a brilliant backhand down the line to move 0-30 up on Murray’s serve. 

But after all that good work, it’s a strange decision as he tries to get his forehand into play there before hitting into the net.

However, he gets breathing space again as Murray produces another double-fault. Two break points…

Murray saves one after serving wide before striking a forehand down the line with Nishioka still on the run. Another break point still… but again Murray saves with another serve and forehand combination. Deuce.

It’s then advantage Murray following a great scramble from the Brit as Nishioka hits a defensive backhand wide. 

And that is fantastic from Murray – another serve and forehand combination ends with him punching an emphatic winner cross court.

Straight-forward service games recently. Nishioka hits a clean winner on the backhand at 78mph to surge into a 30-0 lead.

Then after an impressive rally, Nishioka eventually puts Murray away by getting him on the run. And then it’s another hold to love.

Now it’s Murray’s time to race into a healthy lead on his service game. After the last one, this comes as a welcome breather for Murray.

The 33-year-old levels it at 2-2 as he sweeps away a backhander without a loss of points on his serve.

Nishioka races into a 40-0 lead on his serve after a monstrous second game of the fourth set.

After investing so much into that last game, Murray is running on empty. 

And Nishioka then seals the third game of the fourth set. 

Murray needs to be ultra-focused here and it’s integral that he holds his serve here. He needs to keep that pressure on Nishioka!

And there are good signs as he sends a forehand winner – 88mph – on his way. 30-15 on his serve.

But it’s an unforced error next up – hitting a forehand high and long. 30-30.

However, he doesn’t let his head drop. He shows beautiful footwork before coming into the net to put away a winner simply. 40-30. But he follows it up with a double-fault. Deuce.

After a double-fault, it’s an ace straight up! First serve delivers when he needed it most. But it’s Nishioka’s turn to make Murray play one more ball there as the Brit strikes into the net. Deuce No 2.

And it’s a second double-fault in this game… which leaves him in trouble here. Self-inflicted. Advantage Nishioka.

However, Murray manages to regroup after going on the attack. Deuce once again! 

But what does he do? Another double-fault!!! Advantage again Nishioka. Break point No 2.

It’s back to deuce as Murray hits a backhand winner on the volley. Eight and a half minutes this game so far!

Nishioka then does the hard part by staying in the rally but when he steps in, he makes the unforced error by going long.

Game point Murray – and he takes it as Nishioka hits long again. Brilliant hold!

After losing the first point of the fourth set, Nishioka then races into a 40-15 lead. 

However, he lets slip after firing a forehand wide. 40-30. Then it’s a double-fault. 40-40.

But he responds by firing a forehand winner as he goes on the attack. And he wraps up the opening game of the fourth set with an emphatic serve.

Edgy start to the fourth but he remains unscathed.

Nishioka goes 4-3 up in the tie-break as Murray goes long. The Brit challenges but it’s out. Two good serves from the Japanese star there.

Murray then responds with a powerful forehand, which leaves Nishioka to hit into the net on the stretch. 4-4.

Then Murray produces another massive forehand – introducing some genuine pace! He goes 5-4 up. 

And it’s the forehand again that pierces the defence of Nishioka. Brilliant from the former world No 1. He now has two set points at 6-4 in the tie-break.

The first one is saved by Nishioka in clinical fashion. 6-5.

Murray to serve… and there it is! He takes the SET, winning the tie-break 7-5 as Nishioka hits into the net.

Murray is heading into his 327th tie-breaker. 

And he takes the first point thanks to an emphatic first serve, which Nishioka can’t do anything about! And he then goes 2-0 up after his opponent – who had the serve – hits a forehand wide!

But Nishioka responds with a fine rally, ending it with a strong backhand cross court with Murray on the run. A lot to admire him from him in that rally. 2-1 Murray.

Then Murray screams in anger after hitting a backhand into the net. 2-2.

But Murray keeps his head up and fires a forehand winner cross court. 3-2.

Nishioka then takes the next point by firing an overhead winner. 3-3. Change of sides.

The door is open wide now for Murray to take the third set as Nishioka pushes an edgy backhand into the net. 15-30.

But Murray is furious after hitting his forehand long. 30-30. And then that’s bad luck for the Brit. After breaking his strong, the net chord doesn’t go his way as his forehand drops wide into the tramlines. 40-30.

Then Nishioka smashes a brilliant forehand down the line. Tie break time!!!

That is delightful from Murray. He performs an exquisite drop shot, leaving Nishioka with no chance. 15-0.

But Murray then makes another unforced error after smashing a volley straight into the net. Was hard to judge whether Nishioka’s initial shot was going out. 15-15.

The Brit then fires into the net again twice in a row. And Nishioka now has a couple of break points here. Murray is furious with himself here…

He saves the first break point following a fine serve, which Nishioka returns too long. And that is brilliant from Murray as he smashes an emphatic forehand winner cross court after a big first serve. Great execution. Deuce!

Then that is tennis from the highest order. Nishioka somehow stays in the rally and eventually grinds Murray down, who smashes into the net. Advantage.

But Murray responds with a clutch backhand volley up high. Deuce yet again! 

Then it’s Nishioka’s time to express his anger, hurrying across court before firing too long. But that is some response as he produces a pure backhander down the line. Deuce No 3.

Then Nishioka goes for the elaborate with a cheeky drop shot but it can’t quite drop over the net. Murray breathes a huge sigh of relief.

And then that is so good from Murray, performing a backhand winner from up high to hold onto his serve. 6-5 lead in the third set for the Brit!

Ooooh so close from Murray. Nishioka nearly gives him a lifeline at 15-0 after not emphatically putting away his overhead volley. Murray gets to the ball but his forehand just finds the net. 15-15.

Then Murray is furious with himself after an unforced error as Nishioka pulls away to make it 40-15.

And it’s all too easy in the end from Nishioka as Murray hits long. Good hold from the Japanese player after being down 0-15.

It’s a disappointing start to Murray’s service game as he begins with a double-fault. He challenges the call but it’s definitely out. 0-15.

And that’s a very tired shot from the Brit. He fires a loose backhand well wide. Making life very difficult for himself here. However, he responds with an ace as he tries to get himself fired up again. He needs more of those first serves right now.

And that’s beautifully done, producing a lovely serve and volley at the net. 30-30.

However, he is in deep trouble again as he fires a forehand long following a strong return from Nishioka. Break point for the Japanese star.

He fires his first serve into the net but gets a lifeline as Nishioka fails to find the target. He saw the winner but his backhand goes wide into the tramlines. Deuce.

Advantage Murray following a strong first serve, which Nishioka can’t do much about. And then he seals the game to make it 5-4 after his opponent finds the net.

Nishioka races into a 30-0 lead in his service game. Ideal start for him after the pressure was on.

Murray then fires a backhand well long. 40-0. Nishioka then hits a backhand wide before finding the net as the Brit takes his second-serve on. 40-30.

But Nishioka holds his serve with a good cutting angle, leaving Murray with a tough shot to return. 

That is a great point from both players but it’s Nishioka who takes it. Murray produces an impressive overhead volley on his backhand but the Japanese player is on hand to smash the winner down the line. 0-15.

But that’s excellent from Murray as he goes on the attack before unleashing a winner on the volley as he sprints into the net. Clean hitting from the Brit there. 15-15.

He follows that up with a 130mph ace before Nishioka hits into the net. 40-15.

And Murray then holds as Nishioka goes long. He leads 4-3 in this set and has found some momentum!

Murray produces one of his finest backhands. He lines it up perfectly to unleash the winner straight down the line. Never looked like missing. 0-15.

But Nishioka responds with an excellent forehand winner of his own. Fantastic technique, hooking it down the line leaving Murray with no chance. 15-15.

However, Murray grinds him down on the next point as the Japanese player eventually hits long. Then the same story on the next point as Murray exerts a bit of pressure on the Nishioka serve. 15-40… two break points!

And it’s a BREAK of serve for Murray as Nishioka produces a double-fault. Back on terms in this third set. Turning point?

That’s a lot better from Murray, and more like his old self. After a deft touch to win the first point, he unleashes a brilliant forehand winner. 30-0.

He then forces Nishioka into an unforced error by producing a deep second-serve. 40-0. 

However, that is brilliant from Nishioka as he fires a forehand winner onto the paint. 40-15.

Nishioka then makes it slightly nervy at 40-30 but Murray fires off a powerful first serve to hold. 

Has Murray got anything else left in the tank? If the first points of the fourth game are anything to go by, then not really!

His return on Nishioka’s serve is weak before he produces three unforced errors in a row. All too easy for the Japanese star.

But Murray doesn’t drop off rapidly like he did in the second set. He takes the third game 2-1 at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The former world No 1 finishes it off with a rapid serve which Nishioka can’t do much about.

It’s all too easy for Nishioka at present and he fires off the second game, wrapping it up with a quick serve down the middle.

Long way back for the former world No 1 right now…

It’s absolutely vital Murray holds out here. But he produces three unforced errors as Nishioka has a break point at 30-40.

He has been well off the pace here and it ends in more disappointment as he produces another double-fault.

Plenty of gloom above Murray’s head at the moment. BREAK of serve already!

Nishioka serving for a two-set lead!

And he starts off well as Murray fires a backhand down the line… long! Then Nishioka has the courage to hit a quick second-serve and Murray’s defence goes long again. 30-0.

Murray responds with a searing backhand angled acutely across the court. 30-15.

But that is brilliant with Nishioka as he fires a bullet forehand down the line. Murray tested the nerve of his opponent but he was certainly up for the challenge. A couple of set points…

Murray doesn’t go down without a fight – controlled aggression to save one set point but hurrying to the net before unleashing a backhand winner on the volley.

However, it’s a SECOND SET for Nishioka as Murray’s return goes long. 

Murray needs to dig very deep now…

An awkward time for Murray to serve with the sun in his eyes. But he forces Nishioka to hit into the net as he tries to stay in the second set. 15-0.

Then Murray produces his fourth ace of the match. 30-0. However, he follows it up with a double-fault and he is clearly angry with himself! 30-15.

Nishioka then hits a forehand wide. He was more expansive than he needed to be there! 40-15. And Murray finally wraps it up as the Japanese star hits his return of the serve into the net.

Good hold… but he needs to find that elusive break of serve now!

Wide first shot from Murray on the backhand. 

Then at 15-15, Nishioka goes on the attack and Murray is forced to loop one in the air, but it goes long. 30-15. 

But that’s emphatic from Murray and there are real signs of life as he roars ‘Come on!’ as he smashes a return of serve to level it at 30-30. 

However, Nishioka produces a well-placed first serve before smashing the winner at the net. And it’s game from Nishioka as Murray hits long on the backhand.

Nishioka with a couple of unforced errors in recent minutes and another as Murray goes 15-0 up. Will this chisel away at his confidence?

But he responds with a backhand winner – Murray comes in with no conviction in his movement there. 15-15.

However, Murray then produces two aces in a row to make it 40-15. Nishioka extends the game by smashing an overhead volley with Murray out of position. 

Then that is brilliant from Nishioka – he is so quick to get across there and uses his angles brilliantly to fire a cross court winner on his forehand. Deuce.

But Murray finally wraps up the game and cuts the deficit to just one-game in the second set. Still, Nishioka has the serve next…

Nishioka gives Murray a way into this game as he hits a forehand wide as he tries to find the winner down the line. 15-30.

Then Murray takes the next point and it’s two break points. Can he take advantage? He desperately needs this!

And yes he does, excellent play from Murray – all that he needed. He goes on the attack before firing a winner on the volley cross court.

After losing five games in a row, Murray finally gets back onto the scoreboard but he certainly makes it hard for himself!

Nishioka forces the game to deuce but will be disappointed as he tries to hit an emphatic winner which goes straight into the net. One of the few bad shots his played in this set.

But he responds in some style with a great pass on the forehand despite Murray going on the attack. Deuce again!

Then that is a fantastic point – accuracy from both players there was incredible but it’s Murray who comes out on top with a fine volley at the net down the line. 

He has the chance to wrap up his first game in five but his overhead volley is very poor, smashing into the net. Deuce yet again. Murray is looking very tired now.

Murray with the advantage again, hitting a backhand volley cross court as Nishioka was coming into the net. He finally wraps it up. It was a long, arduous hold of serve but ultimately he was successful.

Can that change the momentum at all? Desperate times…


Credit must go to Nishioka, he is fully deserving of his lead right now! 

Nishioka draws it back to 15-15 with an exquisite drop shot on the volley at the net. He is playing some great tennis currently – the momentum is clearly with him.

Then when Murray feels he has some hope, Nishioka takes that away from him – winning the the game with a deaf touch on the volley at the net. 4-0 Nishioka!

It’s a flat performance from Murray so far and he needs to get himself out of this hole with no fans to feed off inside the Arthur Ashe.

After an opening double-fault, Murray responds to make with three straight points to make it 40-15.

But he makes it nervy again as he smashes a forehand, aiming for down the line, straight into the net. And then it’s another double-fault. Deuce.

Murray then produces a strange approach shot before hitting a difficult volley into the net. Break point for Nishioka for a double break. And it’s loose. Murray loses control of the second set.

It’s 3-0 to Nishioka. It is falling apart quickly for Murray – can he find a way back into this match?

Murray needs a response immediately! But he is in a real rough patch.

The former world No 1 hits a slice straight into the net before hitting long. And then it’s an easy hold for Nishioka.

It’s not how he planned to start the second set. It’s a double-fault first up for Murray… followed by another one straight away! 

Big moment developing here already with Murray 0-30 down.

He then hits the perfect forehand winner to really stay in this opening game after taking plenty of pace off his first serve. 15-30.

He responds with a much better first serve, painting the line with Nishioka unable to successfully return. 30-30.

And it’s a break point. After staying in the rally so well, Murray finds the edge of his racket before the ball bounces miles wide.

His first-serve goes straight into the net. Then after a slow second-serve, Murray eventually hits long and it’s a BREAK straight away in the second set.

Nishioka is going very nicely in New York at the moment”

 


It’s Murray’s returning which needs to improve… so can he kick on now and ensure he stays in the opening set?

After losing the first point, Nishioka hits an ace down the middle in an emphatic response. 15-15.

Then it’s hugely disappointing from Murray after a much better second-serve return. He had the chance to punish Nishioka there but the unforced error comes as he hits it long. 15-30.

Murray is the aggressor in the next rally but it’s sublime play from Nishioka as he hits a sumptuous winner after staying in that rally. The Brit was dominating proceedings but the Japanese star unleashes a brilliant forehand down the line. Two set points…

And he survives the first one as Nishioka hits a backhand wide. But then Nishioka takes the FIRST SET.

 

Straight-forward hold for Murray as he served to stay in the first set. He finishes off with an ace, his first of the match.

Lovely rhythm on his first serve there. Nishioka now has the chance to serve for the first set! 

That’s the first ace of the match as Nishioka hits a 115mph out wide, leaving Murray with no chance of returning.

Then at 30-15, it’s a brilliant defence from Nishioka as he produces a fantastic defensive lob, which then puts Murray out of his stride.

But that is possibly Murray’s best shot of the match. After an impressive rally, Murray takes the paint on the way through with a great cross court forehand. 

But it’s another second-serve return miss from Murray as Nishioka goes 5-3 up!

‘Come on’, roars Nishioka as he takes a step to the right on Murray’s second serve before striking a forehand down the line for the winner. 0-15.

But Murray responds as Nishioka then hits long. 15-15. 

It’s Nishioka who is the aggressor again, generating a powerful backhand on the front foot before Murray then hits into the net. 15-30.

Then it’s long from Murray and it’s two break points! His first-serve has yet to arrive at the Arthur Ashe. Will he lose control of the first set?

His first-serve again goes into the net. But that is brilliant from Murray. After a speedy second serve, he then strikes a crunching forehand after setting up the short reply. One break point remaining!

But again his first-serve hits the net. Then Nishioka claims the first BREAK of the opening set, hitting a winner with a forehand volley. Impressive returning game there from the 24-year-old!

After a poor return, Murray’s next is much better as he goes on the attack with an aggressive backhand which Nishioka then hits into the net. 15-15.

The next rally shows why today could be awkward for Murray. Nishioka’s engine keeps him in that rally, which ends with Murray striking a backhand into the net. 

But a double fault up next from the Japanese player – his second of the match already. 30-30.

Then that is brilliant from Nishioka, who shows true agile as he plays a backhand volley – which is not an easy shot for one of the shortest players on the tour – out of Murray’s reach. 40-30.

Then he wraps the game up to make it 3-3 as Murray hits his backhand low into the net. The Brit is working hard at the back of the court to try and gain an advantage, but it isn’t working out just yet.


After going 15-0 up, Murray plays an intricate drop shot but yet his opponent was still there. However, Nishioka will be disappointed with himself there after hitting low into the net. 30-0.

Then it’s an easy hold as he wins on an aggressive backhand cross court, before Nishioka is forced into the error.

Sloppy from Murray as he doesn’t make Nishioka work on the Japanese star’s second-serve. Normally where he is so good. 

But then it’s the first double-fault of the match from Nishioka as the game draws level at 15-15.

Murray again with the unforced error, hitting into the net. However, he then fights back on the next rally and it’s time for Nishioka to strike the net. 

And it’s 30-40. First break point opportunity for Murray as Nishioka strikes long. But that will burn as his return goes long. Deuce again.

It’s Nishioka’s turn for the next unforced error and it’s break point again! Second-serve comes in from the Japanese player and after a long rally, Murray’s opponent takes it on and hits an 87mph winning forehand. Deuce!

Now it’s advantage Nishioka as Murray tries to find the winner down the line but it goes wide. He would have fancied himself to have made that pass.

Game Nishioka as Murray – who is being watched on upstairs by Konta and his brother, Jamie – hits into the net.

Murray takes the first two points after strong first serves, which Nishioka struggles to deal with. 

He manages to return at 30-0 and tempts Murray into the net before striking backhand cross court to make it 30-15.

But it’s an easy hold for the Brit, taking the next two points. He leads 2-1 in the opening set. 

That’s brilliant for Murray. It’s his time to be the aggressor, striking a backhand cross court leaving too much for Nishioka to do. 0-15.

That’s a brilliant rally from the pair but it’s the Japanese star who takes it, punching a backhand down the line as Murray scurries over. 15-15.

Now it’s time for him to paint the other touchline. And it’s Nishioka’s forehand that does the damage now. 30-15.

Murray now with an unforced error, striking into the net which he is visibly disappointed with as he went on the attack. 40-15.

Game Nishioka and it’s relatively straight-forward. Murray tries the drop shot but it’s lazy and hits the net. Solid hold there.

Nishioka’s forehand has some real punch to it and he draws level at 15-15.

Then Murray makes an unforced error after a pacey second-serve. He goes on the attack but his forehand strikes the net and bounces into the tramlines. 15-30.

Now it’s Nishioka’s turn to make the unforced error, hitting long. 30-30. And again! After being in a dominant position and setting the point up well, he strides forward to the net but his backhand volley hits the net. 40-30.

It’s deuce. Nishioka goes on the offensive again and strikes a risky swing volley straight onto the line. Aggressive play from the Japanese player right there.

Murray challenges the call after Nishioka appears to go long. He is baffled and rightly so, with the decision going his way. Advantage Murray!

Then he closes off the game as Nishioka hits Murray’s second serve wide. GAME Murray!

What a start for Murray! He gets his Grand Slam campaign underway and after a strong rally with both players easing into the match, the Brit finishes off the point in some style with a lob to the back of the court!

The long-awaited return of Murray is here. After undergoing two right hip surgeries and playing a total of 68 matches – the Brit is back at a Grand Slam!

The players are practicing their serve before the first-round action gets underway! Looking forward to this one…

We’ve just had the toss, which Nishioka – who has previously played on Arthur Ashe against Federer – wins.

The 24-year-old Japanese player elects to serve first.

Both players are warming up now. The roof remains closed for now but the rain has just stopped…

MIKE DICKSON: It was three days before the 2019 Australian Open when the sluice gates finally opened for Andy Murray.

After uttering just two words – ‘not great’ – in response to an innocuous question about how he was feeling, he left the Melbourne Park interview room in tears to compose himself.

Never a quitter, he was back within a couple of minutes. It all came out as he emotionally expanded on how he had breached his sky-scraping threshold of pain, and could no longer go through the agonies required to compete at the highest level. Retirement beckoned.

Hello everybody and welcome to Sportsmail’s live coverage of Andy Murray’s first round match against Yoshihito Nishioka.

It will be an emotional time for Murray, who hasn’t played a Grand Slam singles match in 20 months.

You can follow the live coverage right here. The players have just made their way to the court…





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