With his back against the wall Thursday, Andy Murray showcased his trademark fighting spirit to reach the quarter-finals at the Gijon Open.
After losing a 56-minute first set, the former World No. 1 rallied to edge Argentine Pedro Cachin 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(3) at the ATP 250 event in Spain.
In their first ATP Head2Head meeting, the Scot raised his intensity and refused to go away, twice rallying from a break down in the third set to eventually seal his 25th tour-level win of the season after two hours and 49 minutes.
“I think I served well in the second and third sets. I fought very hard,” Murray said in his on-court interview. “In the first set I wasn’t playing my best and Pedro was serving very well for the first set and a half. I was really struggling to break serve. I changed the way I was returning to give myself more opportunities to break. I fought very hard to come back from a break down twice in the third set.”
Murray struck his flat groundstrokes consistently, hitting 31 winners and committing just 19 unforced errors, while he held his nerve in the third-set tie-break to advance to his fourth tour-level quarter-final of the season.
The 35-year-old, currently No. 46 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, is aiming to win his first tour-level title since he triumphed in Antwerp in 2019. Earlier this season, Murray reached finals on hard in Sydney and on grass in Stuttgart.
The 46-time tour-level titlist will next face third-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut or American Sebastian Korda.
Also on Thursday, top seed Andrey Rublev prevailed in a hard-hitting second-round clash against Ilya Ivashka. The 24-year-old clinched a 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 win as he began his bid for his fourth tour-level title of the season.
Rublev kept his composure after letting slip a 4-2 lead in the second set as both players played aggressively throughout the two-hour, 28-minute encounter. It was Rublev who found something extra in the decider, however, as he frequently hit through Ivashka with his powerful groundstrokes to improve to 3-0 in their ATP Head2Head series.
Rublev finished the match having hit 51 winners to Ivashka’s 13. The 11-time tour-level titlist is currently sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin and will be targeting a deep run in Gijon as he aims to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the third consecutive year. He will next meet fifth-seeded American Tommy Paul in Gijon.
In other action, fourth seed Francisco Cerundolo moved past French qualifier Manuel Guinard 7-6(5), 6-2 to earn his first tour-level win since July, when he advanced to the last four in Hamburg.
The Argentine, who lifted his maiden tour-level trophy in Bastad in July, will next play Austrian Dominic Thiem as a result of his one-hour, 48-minute victory.