Andy Murray made a spectacular return to the grand slam singles stage with a gruelling five-set victory in the first round of the US Open.
He secured a brilliant 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 come-from-behind victory in a 4 hour and 39 min encounter against 49th-ranked Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, in his first singles Grand Slam match in 18 months following an injury and the coronavirus pandemic.
The Scot will now play 15th seed Canadian Felix Auger-Allassime in the second round. His comeback appeared to be heading for disaster when he went 1-3 down in the third set, appearing all-but-certain to be heading for an embarrassing straight-sets exit.
However, showing the grit and determination that led him to three Grand Slam wins during his peak, Murray hauled himself into a 5-4 lead before taking the set on a tie-break. By then, Murray was playing more aggressively, forcing Nishioka on back foot and to err of his own.
The first four games of set four went to serve until a Murray double fault put him a break down. Murray immediately broke back though, a delicate back-handed lob from deep making the score 3-3, before breaking again for game, set, match.