The World No. 1 of five years ago will take on the World No. 1 of five days ago when Andy Murray meets Daniil Medvedev in the second round of the Miami Open presented by Itau.
The Briton set up the marquee matchup with a 7-6(4), 6-1 win over Federico Delbonis Thursday at Hard Rock Stadium. In what he described as slow and bouncy conditions, Murray lifted his game after taking the tie-break, racing to the finish after an instant break in the second.
“It was difficult for me, especially in the first set,” Murray said post-match. “It was a really tight first set, but I did well in the end.”
There was nothing to choose between the two men in an opening stanza that did not feature a break point, nor a single deuce game.
That trend continued in the tie-break, as the first nine points went on serve to leave Murray leading, 5/4. The Briton then won a long rally when Delbonis found the net, and won the set on the Argentine’s fourth double fault.
“Both of us served very well in the first set,” Murray added. “I just managed to catch a really good return there at 5/4 in the tie-break, a really deep return and managed to get that point. He double faulted on the set point and that was the key to the match right there.”
With the lead in hand, Murray stepped up his aggression on the return in set two and was rewarded with an instant break. He then escaped 0/30 to consolidate, winning points from the net and the baseline as he began to take control of the match.
Murray’s domination in the second was summed up in the final two points of the match, as he earned the victory with his third break of the stanza. A cat-and-mouse exchange ended with Murray floating a lob winner off a stabbed volley to bring up match point. He took the direct route on match point, firing a forehand return winner down the line.
The two-time Miami champ levels their ATP Head2Head at 1-1 after a 2016 loss in Indian Wells which was decided in a third-set tie-break.
Murray will seek to level at 1-1 against Medvedev in the second round. The World No. 2 defeated Murray in 2019 in Brisbane in straight sets.
“Obviously a tough match,” Murray previewed. “He’s played extremely well on the hard courts the last few seasons. He deserves to be right up there at the top of the game.
“It’ll be a big challenge for me, it’ll be a great test. I’ve got a big training block after this tournament, and it’ll be a really good test for where my game’s at and things I need to work on as well against him. So I’m looking forward to that.”
Also in late Thursday action, Tommy Paul defeated Benjamin Bonzi, 6-4, 6-4 on Grandstand, setting up a second-round meeting with 23rd seed Karen Khachanov. Miomir Kecmanovic closed out play on Court Butch Buchholz with a 7-6(3), 6-4 win over American qualifier Jack Sock, advancing to face seventh seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.
France’s Arthur Rinderknech was a late winner on Court 5, knocking off Laslo Djere, 6-2, 7-6(6). He’ll face eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz next, with the first round now complete.