The third time lucky. Andy Murray could say so. The Scotsman played for the third time with a Polish. They lost two of their previous games at Cincinnati and the Metz in two sets. This time he took a rematch. This defeat could cost Hurkacz dearly, who could lose his place for some time to secure his start to the Masters in Turin, if his biggest rivals Yannick Sener and Cameron Nouri do well in Vienna.

At the start of the match, with a 1:1 score, Murray had two missing points. Hurkacz was able to defend himself mainly thanks to good service, but that was a preview of the pole’s tough encounter.

The breakthrough moment in the first set occurred in the ninth inning. Murray developed two break opportunities for Hurkacz. I have used the other. He took the lead 5:4. He lost two points in the next game. Group won.

The Scot showed that he feels very comfortable in the Vienna hall and on the roof there – rough, free and prefers defensive players. It was no coincidence that Murray won Vienna twice, in 2014 and 2016.

In the second group, several actions pleased the audience. There were also some mishaps and incomprehensible mistakes, especially from the Polish tennis player, on the net. But it was Hurkacz who finally led to a situation where Murray could lose his service. In the sixth game he was ahead by 40: 0. The British tied. Wrocław’s player gets a break point again. Breaking the risky attack, the ATP leaderboard scored another two points and the score was 3:3.

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Then Murray had the opportunity to break the opponent’s serve twice. He didn’t use them. Hurkacz again earned a break point in the next set. And again it ended with a successful defense of the server. The group ended in a tie.

The British started better. He was leading 2-0. Then this was followed by a series of good plays made by the Polish tennis player. It was a very balanced part of the meeting. None of the players gave up. But someone had to have the upper hand. The first was Murray, for whom it was a match ball. Hurkacz defended himself with an excellent backhand in the line. Then two more points and a group.

Hurkacz’s third set started off promisingly. After a tough fight, he finally broke his opponent from Great Britain (he used his eighth break point in the match). So what if Murray compensated in the next game the loss. The British guarded his position. He played very carefully, as was more regular.

At a score of 5:3 for the Scotsman there was a shadow of hope for the pole. He was leading 30-0. But Murray scored three more points. Hurkacz did not give up. He had two missing points. British routine prevailed. He won after a good match.

The defeat in the first round of the tournament in Vienna complicates the pole’s plans. It will not increase the achievements of this week’s ATP race, an arrangement that takes into account the achievements of this season and qualifies for the Masters in Turin. In a week, Hurkacz will be playing in Paris in the ATP 1000 tournament. Perhaps sealing his promotion to Masters there.

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Olgerd Kwiatkowski

First round of the ATP 500 Erste Bank Open (total prizes €1,515,215):

Hubert Hurkacz (Poland, 5) – Andy Murray (UK) 4:6, 7:6 (6), 3:6.