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Murray opens Indian Wells with win over Goffin

Andy Murray launched his 16th appearance at the ATP-WTA Indian Wells Masters on Wednesday with a 6-3, 6-2 defeat of qualifier David Goffin.

Britain’s 2009 finalist in the California desert took 80 minutes to produce a satisfying win to improve to 8-0 against the former top-10 Belgian.

Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion who acknowledged in Dubai last month that he is unlikely to keep playing beyond this season, swept the final 10 points of the opening set and went up a double break for 5-2 before polishing off the win.

“I was striking the ball well from the back of the court, it was a solid performance,” the 36-year-old Murray, ranked 61st, said. 

“This could be the best I’ve ever served here. I’ve struggled serving here for at least 10 years. Today felt much better.”

The Scot noted he has always had his troubles at the desert venue over the years, trying various preparation strategies with limited success.

“I’ve tried everything here: I’ve arrived later. I’ve come a week early to get used to conditions and then lost in the first round.

“But conditions seem different this year,” he added. “The balls are quicker and the court seems a bit smaller at the back.”

Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz, who will benefit from a first-round bye, learned the name of his first opponent as Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi defeated Frenchman Luca van Assche 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/3).

Australian Open winner Jannik Sinner, who followed up his Grand Slam trophy with a title in Rotterdam last month, will start his tournament against Thanasi Kokkinakis after the Australian defeated Marcus Giron 6-3, 7-5.

In the women’s draw, the back injury nightmare for 2021 tournament champion Paula Badosa continued, with the Spaniard  withdrawing from her opening match against fellow wild card Ashlyn Krueger.

Lucky loser Nadia Podoroska will take the place of the 73rd-ranked Badosa, who did not compete after Wimbledon last season due to her injury.

Tennis mother Angelique Kerber, a finalist here five years ago, booked a second-round match with a fellow Grand Slam champion.

The 36-year-old German with three titles at the majors beat her first top 100 opponent since returning from maternity leave as she defeated Petra Martic 6-3, 6-4. Kerber now takes on 2017 Roland Garros Jelena Ostapenko.

Briton Katie Boulter, who won the WTA 500 San Diego title at the weekend, crashed out in the first round, falling 6-3, 6-2 to Italian Camila Giorgi.

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