Comeback complete! In his first match of 2021, Andy Murray made a winning return at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Biella, Italy. The former World No. 1 rallied from a set down to defeat Maximilian Marterer 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-3 on the indoor hard courts of the Biella Challenger Indoor 1.
Murray was made to work as he kicked off his 2021 campaign in the scenic surroundings of northern Italy. The 33-year-old arrived at the Palasport Biella in search of matches, as he competed in his first tournament since October. He would seal the victory over Marterer after two hours and 10 minutes, striking a sublime lob winner that landed smack on the baseline.
Looking to rediscover his rhythm on the court, Murray was tested by the former World No. 45 Marterer from the start. But after dropping the first-set tie-break, he would raise his level as the match wore on. The Scot seized the first break of the match for 2-1 in the second set and cracked the German’s serve three more times before crossing the finish line.
Murray, who scored his first victory since the 2020 US Open (d. Nishioka), won 82 per cent of first-serve points and did not concede a break opportunity during the encounter. This marks his second appearance on the ATP Challenger Tour in three years. In 2019, he reached the quarter-finals in Mallorca, Spain, in the early stages of his comeback from hip surgery.
This time, as he seeks to build confidence and momentum to start the season, Murray is slated to compete in Biella I and Biella II this month. He will face Italy’s Gian Marco Moroni in the second round on Thursday.
The 28-year-old Palasport Biella will host four Challenger tournaments in the coming months, with a 125-level event slated for the week of 15 February. Located in the Italian Alps, the Piedmont region is also the new home of the Nitto ATP Finals in 2021, in nearby Turin.