Indian Wells 2021 as it happened: Emma Raducanu loses but Andy Murray triumphs
The US Open champion Emma Raducanu was hoping to continue the incredible form that inspired her to her remarkable triumph at Flushing Meadows but came up short. Meanwhile, Andy Murray is appearing at Indian Wells for the first time since 2017 and looked sharp throughout.
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The glaring errors mount up for Mannarino. He gifts Muzza a break point and then all-but packs his suitcase with a double fault to hand over the double break.
MURRAY 6-3 4-2 MANNARINO
Close! Mannarino dictates the play at 30-30 but then dumps a very make-able volley into the net. Murray lands a big serve and forehand in the next point and backs up his break.
MURRAY 6-3 2-2 MANNARINO
All square. More smart serving from Murray and he closes out another solid game to 15.
MURRAY 6-3 1-2 MANNARINO
Clutch tennis. Mannarino puts on the after-burners to rally hard from 15-40 down and wriggle out of danger.
MURRAY 6-3 1-1 MANNARINO
Murray has served with real aplomb so far tonight. In fact, most of his game has been super sharp. Mannarino is looking increasingly frustrated which can only be good news for fans of the Scot.
SET! - MURRAY 6-3 MANNARINO
Murray serves out the opener to love in 40 minutes. That was high level stuff from the former world number one.
MURRAY 5-3 MANNARINO
Serve-out question posed.
MURRAY 5-2 MANNARINO
A double fault leaves the Scot in a pickle at 0-30. An ace gets him back in the game before a bewitching drop shot leads him through a determined hold to ensure he consolidates the break.
BREAK! - MURRAY 4-2 MANNARINO
Sublime! That was Murray at his best right there. A sublime backhand lob after some incredible defence puts him in charge at 15-30 before a wondrous return clocks up the first break points of the match. Mannarino has a proverbial sitter in the forecourt to fend off the first but somehow blazes into the net. First blood Muzza!
MURRAY 3-2 MANNARINO
Not much to choose between the two players so far. Murray is showing trademark court craft to back up some big serves and it helps him maintain the scoreboard advantage during the early sparring.
MURRAY 2-1 MANNARINO
Murray is made to work hard in his opening service game but both players then exchange quick-fire holds.
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GAME, SET AND MATCH! – RADUCANU 2-6 4-6 SASNOVICH
Emma comes crashing back down to earth with a bump as Sasnovich serves it out to love to claim a famous victory. She prevails in one hour and 24 minutes to set up a third round clash with Simona Halep.
BREAK! – RADUCANU 2-6 4-5 SASNOVICH
There are glimpses of the Flushing Meadows magic – but not enough. Sasnovich levels with a plucky hold before breaking the inconsistent Brit to move within a game of a famous victory.
BREAK! – RADUCANU 2-6 4-3 SASNOVICH
Clutch serving helps Raducanu stave off two of three break points but she then slaps an attempt into the net to gift her opponent an instant break back. It’s rollercoaster stuff out there!
BREAK! – RADUCANU 2-6 4-2 SASNOVICH
Match on? Sasnovich races on to a miscued return but somehow contrives to tip a drop shot into the net. It coughs up triple break point and you sense the world No.100’s confidence drain as Emma duly snatches the game.
RADUCANU 2-6 3-2 SASNOVICH
The British No.1 shrugs off that disappointment to charge through a dominant service game and keep her nose in front.
RADUCANU 2-6 2-2 SASNOVICH
That’s a real escape by Sasnovich. She’s really struggling at the moment but Raducanu can’t make her pay. The US Open champion misses a return by a whisker on a third BP and then sizzles a millimetre wide again on game point.
RADUCANU 2-6 2-1 SASNOVICH
Comeback on? Whisper it quietly at the moment. Emma just about keeps her opponent at arm’s length despite another double fault and clocks up back-to-back games to snare the scoreboard advantage.
BREAK! – RADUCANU 2-6 1-1 SASNOVICH
Nerves? Sasnovich’s game seems to dip sharply and some double faults allow Emma back in it. The Belarusian can’t back up her break and we are all square!
BREAK! – RADUCANU 2-6 0-1 SASNOVICH
That was a BIG game for Emma but she just couldn’t wriggle free. Sasnovich converts on a fourth break point and is looking good for a shock win right now.
SET! - RADUCANU 2-6 SASNOVICH
More disappointment for the Brit. Sasnovich nails a first ace of the match to tee up set point but is pegged to deuce by a brilliant drive volley from the US Open champion. The Belarusian snares a second opportunity and somehow converts it with a defensive block lob from a careless volley at the net from Emma. She’s been second best so far. Can she find a way back?
BREAK! – RADUCANU 2-5 SASNOVICH
It’s not looking good for Emma. She double faults for a second time to cough up triple break point and again misses wildly to gift her opponent the double break. She will now serve for the set.
RADUCANU 2-4 SASNOVICH
Aliaksandra charges to a 40-0 lead but is somewhat hanging on at the end as she benefits from an unlucky net cord that interrupted a rasping backhand that would have surely forced deuce. Instead, the Belarusian world No.100 maintains her advantage in this opening set.
RADUCANU 2-3 SASNOVICH
A first ace of the match helps Emma through a much more convincing love hold to keep her firmly in touch.
RADUCANU 1-3 SASNOVICH
There’s a look of frustration from Raducanu as she swats a return into the net to allow her opponent to consolidate to 15 with the minimum of fuss.
BREAK! – RADUCANU 1-2 SASNOVICH
Wow! A sumptuous lob earns triple break point for the Belarusian and Emma offers very little resistance as she compounds a miserable game with a wild attempt that flies way off court to cough up a break to love.
RADUCANU 1-1 SASNOVICH
The Brit looks to turn the screw early doors but can’t conjure up a break point from 0-30 or from deuce. She looks in control on game point but her volley is a tad heavy and Sasnovich produces a wonderful pick-up to force an error and drag herself on to the board.
RADUCANU 1-0 SASNOVICH
Sharp work from Emma. She unloads winners off both flanks and shows no sign of any nerves with a crisp love hold to open her account in style.
Here we go then. It's 27 days since Raducanu's fairytale triumph in New York and she's back on court for the first competitive match since being crowned US Open champion. Can she handle the glaring spotlight? Aliaksandra Sasnovich, ranked 100 in the world, will hope to provide a huge upset.
It's finally time! British duo Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray headline the night action at Indian Wells and the excitement is palpable.
Emma Raducanu v Aliaksandra Sasnovich
Andy Murray v Adrian Mannarino
The US Open champion Raducanu will be the star of the show with all eyes on her to see if she can continue the incredible form that inspired her to her remarkable triumph at Flushing Meadows.
"I'm ready for the next challenge," Raducanu said in her pre-tournament interview. "I had such a great time in New York and an amazing experience.
"It started to sink in gradually, but I think I still will need time for it to fully sink in. But yeah, it's a great place here and I can't wait to get started.
"I think the form that I had in New York was a gradual build up of so many weeks of tennis, and I think that definitely helped that playing a lot of matches. But yeah, we'll see what the future holds."
As for Murray, he is appearing as a wildcard having last participated at Indian Wells when he was the world No. 1 back in 2017.
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Indian Wells is one of only two Masters events that the world No. 121 has not previously won, and he has been handed a brutal draw. The 34-year-old will open his tournament against Adrian Mannarino of France, but could then meet Spain's rising star Carlos Alcaraz in the second round and Olympic champion Alexander Zverev after that.
Murray, who received a wildcard into the ATP Masters 1000 event, also has Italian stars Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner in his quarter of the draw, but that has not diminished his dreams of having a positive run in the Californian desert.
"Obviously here in the desert, the very sort of light air, thin air, the ball travels very quickly through there and also the balls were very light as well," Murray explained.
"That's a bit different this year, which is good. The balls are pretty, pretty heavy and are travelling through the air a little bit slower, so they're easier to control. I wish it had been like that in previous years, but conditions this year are a little bit more to how I like them.
"But yeah, traditionally when I've been playing here, this has been the tournament that I struggle with because of the conditions."
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