Andy Murray Player of the Day Miami Open Day 8

Murray

CC courtesy of Marianne Bevis at flickr.

Andy Murray won his 500th ATP Tour match when he beat Kevin Anderson in the fourth round of the ATP 1000 Miami Open. That milestone makes him our player of the day.

Andy Murray had to fight hard for his 500th ATP Tour career victory, beating Kevin Anderson 6-4, 3-6. 6-3. Miami was a fitting location for such a career milestone- Murray has won 2 titles there (2009, 2013), and, after his safe passage into the 2015 quarter-finals, he is now 25-7 lifetime at the tournament, one of the most prestigious on the ATP Tour.

Fighting for a win is nothing new for Murray. Of those 25 Miami Open wins, eight have been three setters, including his marathon final set tiebreaker championship match win over Ferrer in 2013.

Few players on the ATP tour are as well-equipped to go the distance as Murray whose athleticism, fitness, and defensive skills come into their own on the predominantly medium slow surfaces of the ATP Tour. The Scot is versatile, too. While he won 44 points from the baseline against Anderson, he also won 14 points at the net.

ATP 1000 events have been a rewarding hunting ground for Murray throughout his career. Murray has won 9 ATP 1o0o titles and a total of 155 of his career wins have come at those events.He entered his first one in Cincinnati 2005, and won his first match against Taylor Dent before losing to Marat Safin in the second round.

At Grand slams, Murray has won 2 titles (Wimbledon 2013, U.S Open 2012), and 140 matches.

Murray’s first ATP victory came at Queen’s Club in 2005 when as a wild card, ranked 347, he beat 110th ranked Santiago Ventura in straight sets.

Murray’s victory over Anderson was a fine example of just why he is only the 46th man in the history of the ATP Tour to reach 500 wins. The world no. 4 was his consistent self- hitting 23 winners to 19 unforced errors, had a first serve percentage of 60, won 84% of points behind that delivery, and won 50% of his second serves.

The Scot also racked up impressive return statistics against one of the tour’s biggest serves. Murray’s return game is one of the ATP’s best, and he earned 11 break points and converted four of them.

Murray took the first set with his usual efficient style against players ranked below him. In the second, he did well to recover from falling 0-4 down, but could not prevent Anderson taking the set 6-3.

In the third set, Murray broke in the second game, converting his third break point when he returned a second serve right at Anderson’s feet at the baseline and forced an error. A signature shot from the Scot that he celebrated with a fist-pump and a cry of ‘come on’, another signature that has punctuated his 500 wins, and many of his 155 losses, too.

At 5-3, Murray reached break point courtesy of his fine defensive skills when he retrieved a big forehand down the line return from Anderson. The Scot’s footwork,  reflexes, and touch, arguably the greatest mark of his talent, allowed him to get his racket on the ball and slice it back to the baseline. Anderson tried to generate pace, but made an error instead.

Murray’s retrieving skills, touch and, in particular his slice, a rare quality on the tour, have also been a characteristic of his game over the years, frustrating many an opponent into error.

On match point, Murray served into Anderson’s body on the forehand side, stepped into the court, and hit his ever-reliable backhand aggressively to Anderson’s backhand side, once more earning an error, and with it, his 500th career win.

Watch highlights of Murray’s win over Anderson below.

Commentary by Christian Deverille @thetennisreview

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