Andy Murray beats weary Matteo Berrettini to advance at the Miami Open

Andy Murray, of Britain, celebrates after beating Matteo Berrettini, of Italy, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, in his first round match at the Miami Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, March 20, 2024, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Andy Murray, of Britain, celebrates after beating Matteo Berrettini, of Italy, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, in his first round match at the Miami Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, March 20, 2024, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Andy Murray won another lengthy match with Matteo Berrettini, who appeared weary and leaned on his racket to keep his balance during Murray’s 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory Wednesday at the Miami Open.

Playing his first match on the ATP Tour this season, Berrettini was serving with Murray leading 5-2 in the second set when he seemed to become dizzy, resting his racket on the court to hold himself up. He was visited by a medical attendant, who checked his blood pressure before play continued.

Berrettini left the court after dropping that set but was able to finish the match, which last 2 hours, 49 minutes.

It was a rematch of Murray’s 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (10-6) victory that lasted more than 4 1/2 hours in the first round of the 2023 Australian Open.

“It was obviously a great win for me,” Murray said. “Started off a little bit slow but then I did think I played pretty well across then end of the first set through to the end of the match. Created a lot of opportunities and he was struggling for a little bit end of the second and beginning of the third, and I capitalized on that and got off to a quick start in the third and served it out well at the end.”

Plagued by injuries, Berrettini hadn’t played a match on tour since being forced to retire during his match in the second round of last year’s U.S. Open. The 2021 Wimbledon runner-up returned last week and reached the final of a Challenger tour tournament in Phoenix.

The 36-year-old Murray has won the title twice in Miami and joined Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal as the only active players with 30 wins at the event. The three-time Grand Slam champion advanced to face No. 29 seed Tomas Etcheverry in the second round.

Naomi Osaka, a two-time U.S. Open champion, beat Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-3, 6-4 in her return to Miami. The runner-up to Iga Swiatek in her last appearance in 2022 advanced to face No. 15 seed Elina Svitolina in the second round.

Elsewhere on the first full day of the tournament, Sloane Stephens celebrated her 31st birthday by beating Angelique Kerber 6-2, 6-3 in a matchup of past U.S. Open women’s champions. Also, Donna Vekic outlasted Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 2-6, 6-2; and Americans Danielle Collins and Shelby Rogers advanced with three-set victories.

Men’s winners included Denis Shapovalov, who beat Luciano Darderi 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-4; and Martin Damm Jr., who outlasted China’s Zhang Zhizhen 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3).

The 32 seeded players were given first-round byes. Aryna Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, is expected to play her opening match against Paula Badosa on Friday.

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AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis

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