After losing a 56-minute first set, the former World No. 1 rallied to edge Argentine Pedro Cachin 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(3) at the ATP 250 event in Spain.
In their first ATP Head2Head meeting, the Scot raised his intensity and refused to go away, twice rallying from a break down in the third set to eventually seal his 25th tour-level win of the season after two hours and 49 minutes.
“I think I served well in the second and third sets. I fought very hard,” Murray said in his on-court interview. “In the first set I wasn’t playing my best and Pedro was serving very well for the first set and a half. I was really struggling to break serve. I changed the way I was returning to give myself more opportunities to break. I fought very hard to come back from a break down twice in the third set.”
Murray struck his flat groundstrokes consistently, hitting 31 winners and committing just 19 unforced errors, while he held his nerve in the third-set tie-break to advance to his fourth tour-level quarter-final of the season.
The 35-year-old, currently No. 46 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, is aiming to win his first tour-level title since he triumphed in Antwerp in 2019. Earlier this season, Murray reached finals on hard in Sydney and on grass in Stuttgart.
Also on Thursday, top seed Andrey Rublev prevailed in a hard-hitting second-round clash against Ilya Ivashka. The 24-year-old clinched a 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 win as he began his bid for his fourth tour-level title of the season.
Rublev kept his composure after letting slip a 4-2 lead in the second set as both players played aggressively throughout the two-hour, 28-minute encounter. It was Rublev who found something extra in the decider, however, as he frequently hit through Ivashka with his powerful groundstrokes to improve to 3-0 in their ATP Head2Head series.
Rublev finished the match having hit 51 winners to Ivashka’s 13. The 11-time tour-level titlist is currently sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin and will be targeting a deep run in Gijon as he aims to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the third consecutive year. He will next meet fifth-seeded American Tommy Paul in Gijon.
The Argentine, who lifted his maiden tour-level trophy in Bastad in July, will next play Austrian Dominic Thiem as a result of his one-hour, 48-minute victory.