Andy Murray rallies to win Indian Wells opener
The 22-year-old Russian displayed a varied array of shots and had Murray in a 5-1 hole after just 24 minutes. The Scot reeled off four straight games to knot the set. But he was unable to convert any of six break chances in the 11th game.
A little rust, an unfamiliar opponent and some bad memories of the past two years at Indian Wells added up to a tough opening match for world No. 3 Andy Murray on Sunday.
The Scot persevered to post a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 victory over 83rd-ranked Russian Evgeny Donskoy, avoiding the ignominy of a third straight opening-match exit at the year's first ATP Masters tournament.
"This year I started slow and I was probably nervous," he said. "Because even though I had been practising well, having it in the back of your head that you played poorly the last couple of years and struggled, that's always going to be a thought."
Murray said he has no explanation for his failure to fire here in recent years, after a runner-up finish in 2009 and a quarter-final appearance in 2010.
In addition, he was playing his first match since falling to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final in January, and he had never seen Donskoy play.
The 22-year-old Russian displayed a varied array of shots and had Murray in a 5-1 hole after just 24 minutes.
The Scot reeled off four straight games to knot the set. But he was unable to convert any of six break chances in the 11th game.
In the 12th, Donskoy broke Murray again, giving himself a 0-40 lead with a well-judged lob and a service return winner and finally pocketing the set on his third set point with a low backhand that Murray couldn't get back.
"He played some really good stuff in the first set," said Murray, who found his range and made short work of the second and third sets.
"Once I got into more of a rhythm I was able to dictate more of the points, but he played some good stuff.
"He's quite an easy player -- he doesn't force anything. I think he's pretty smart on the court, too. He doesn't go for shots that aren't on and doesn't make many mistakes."
The US Open champion next faces Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun, a 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/5) winner over 26th-seeded Slovakian Martin Klizan.