Murray rallies to beat teen Alcaraz at Indian Wells
Andy Murray of Great Britain plays a forehand volley against Carlos Alcaraz of Spain. AFP
Andy Murray rallied to win an inter-generational battle at Indian Wells on Sunday, beating Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the third round of the WTA and ATP Masters event.
Murray, who has touted Alcaraz as a future world number one, nevertheless wasn't conceding any ground to the talented teen in the California desert.
The 34-year-old Scot, still battling to return from injury that has seen his ranking fall to 121 in the world, raced to an early 3-0 lead before Alcaraz -- who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open last month -- found his range and regained a break.
After saving a set point the 18-year-old Spaniard broke Murray for a second time to take the opening set, but again gained the opening break in the second set and this time held on.
Murray, who accepted a wild card into the draw, had just eight unforced errors in the second set to Alcaraz's 14.
He broke 30th-seeded Alcaraz to open the third set then saved four break points in the next game to maintain the advantage.
A second service break gave Murray a comfortable cushion, and it was the teen requiring late treatment on an injured foot before the oft-injured Murray sealed the victory after three hours and four minutes.
"He's obviously got so much potential, so much firepower and these conditions it's not easy to finish points off quickly, but he's able to because he has so much pace from the back of the court," former world number one Murray said of Alcaraz. "So I had to fight extremely hard, coming back from a set down.
"I felt like in the second set he played maybe better. First set I felt like I had more of the opportunities but didn't get it so yeah, happy with the way I fought."
Murray will next face either third-seeded Alexander Zverev or American Jenson Brooksby.
In other early matches, fifth-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini defeated Chile's Alejandro Tabilo 6-4, 7-5.
Italy's Jannik Sinner, seeded 10th, also advanced, downing Australian John Millman 6-2, 6-2.
Spain's Albert Ramos Vinolas sprung an upset, ousting seventh-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-2.
Swiatek into round of 16
In women's action, second-seeded Iga Swiatek roared to a 6-1, 6-0 third-round victory over Veronika Kudermetova.
The win came on the anniversary of Swiatek's victory in the pandemic delayed 2020 French Open and put her into the round of 16 in her Indian Wells debut.
Swiatek, who has lost just five games in two matches, said she would be donating her third-round prize money to a mental health non-profit in honor of World Mental Health Day.
"I would say in sports, for me it was always important to use that kind of help because I always thought that in my mental toughness there is some strength that I can use on court and I can also develop in that manner," said the 20-year-old, who travels with a sports psychologist.
"But I also know everybody has different paths, and it's great that we can choose our path because I know that there are people who also don't need psychologists," she said.
"It's just good to stay open-minded."