US Open 2020: Andy Murray fights back to beat Yoshihito Nishioka
Andy Murray staged a stunning comeback against Yoshihito Nishioka in the US Open first round on his long-awaited return to Grand Slam singles tennis.
The 33-year-old came from two sets and a break down against the Japanese to win 4-6 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4.
The Briton, whose last major singles match was at the 2019 Australian Open before career-saving hip surgery, started flat and dispirited.
But he found his fight and saved a match point to set up an epic win.
The Scot, who eventually claimed victory in four hours 39 minutes, will face Canadian 15th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round.
Playing in an empty and quiet Arthur Ashe Stadium – a far cry from the noisy stage where Murray won his maiden Grand Slam title in 2012 – his early despondence was all the more noticeable.
In his BBC radio commentary David Law said “Andy Murray does not look like Andy Murray”, such was his manner, as he quietly trudged around with shoulders slumped as he was outplayed.
During the first two sets Murray barely berated himself for his five double faults and 30 unforced errors, seeming almost resigned to his fate before his energy levels – and his voice – began to rise towards the end of the third set.
And that was when Andy Murray began to look exactly like Andy Murray.
A roar greeted the blistering forehand that gave him two set points in the third-set tie-break and then he let it all out with a trademark “come on!” when Nishioka netted a backhand on the second.
The character that took him to three Grand Slam titles and the world number one ranking before his body so cruelly let him down shone through as he saved a match point with a crosscourt backhand at 6-5 in the fourth.
It would be nearly an hour later until he himself carved out his own match point, needing to recover from a break down in the fifth game of the fifth – which he did with a sumptuous backhand lob in the very next game – to stay on track.
When Nishioka sent a backhand out on match point, Murray completed his 10th career comeback from two sets down and answered any lingering questions about whether he could still be competitive on the biggest stage.