Andy Murray beat qualifier Viktor Durasovic of Norway 6-1, 7-6 (7) on Tuesday to set up a second-round match with top-seeded Jannik Sinner at the Stockholm Open.
The three-time Grand Slam champion cruised through the first set but was nearly pushed to a decider by the 354th-ranked Durasovic.
The 34-year-old Briton, who blew seven match points in a loss to Dominik Koepfer in the Paris Masters last week, saved a set point before closing it out on his third match point.
“He hits the ball huge from the back of the court,” Murray said of the 24-year-old Norwegian. “He will keep moving up the rankings if he’s playing like that. I was happy to get through in the end because he was playing very well at the end of the match.”
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The 10th-ranked Sinner, chasing his fifth title this year, awaits on Wednesday. The 20-year-old Italian just missed qualifying for the ATP Finals.
“He’s had a fantastic year,” Murray said. “He loves playing indoors on hard court, so it will be a big test for me.”
Fifth-seeded Taylor Fritz defeated Egor Gerasimov 6-4, 6-4 and will next face doubles partner Tommy Paul. Fritz beat his fellow American two weeks ago on his run to the final in St. Petersburg.
Spaniard Pedro Martinez will face eighth-seeded Frances Tiafoe in the second round after beating Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (4). Botic van de Zandschulp, a Dutch player who reached the semifinals in St. Petersburg, beat Nino Serdarusic 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5), and next faces seventh-seeded Marton Fucsovics of Hungary.
Arthur Rinderknech advanced when sixth-seeded Alexander Bublik retired with an apparent injury. The Frenchman was ahead 6-1, 2-0.