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Murray beat Thiem to advance to round two

Andy Murray has advanced to the second round at the Madrid Open after beating 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem, his first win on clay since June 2017.

Jennifer Bubel

The last time Andy Murray played a tennis match on a clay court was at the French Open in 2020. The last time he won one was in June 2017. That is, until Monday. Playing against former 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem, Murray won the first-round match 6-3 6-4.

Murray had originally planned to skip clay-court season, but ended up accepting a wildcard for Madrid in April. “I have hardly played on it [clay] for the last five years really,” Murray said. “I did four weeks training so felt more comfortable than I usually do.”

Thiem, who is the former world no. 3, is making a comeback after suffering a wrist injury that kept him out for eight months. This was his fourth match of the year, and the journey is not easy. Thiem has yet to win one since starting again in March and is now ranked 91st in the world.

“I thought Dominic was playing well at times but he has obviously just started playing again as well,” said Murray.

Thiem indeed showed signs of brilliance during Monday’s match, flicking an impressive backhand pass in the opening set. But in the end, Thiem finished with 33 unforced errors, 24 of which came from the forehand, and Murray maximized on that.

“He obviously had the injury initially and has also had some setbacks along the way,” said Murray. “Mentally, it will take time to feel confident, totally accelerating on the ball. I had a wrist injury when I was 20 years old and it was very difficult. It took me time before I started to feel comfortable on the forehand side again.

In the second round, Murray will play Denis Shapovalov, Canada’s 14th seed. Shapovalov beat Murray last year at Wimbledon.


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