Murray wins Indian Wells opener; rain halts Day 1

Sports

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Andy Murray began what is expected to be his final appearance at the BNP Paribas Open with a smooth performance and a straightforward victory, beating David Goffin 6-3, 6-2 on Day 1 in the desert Wednesday.

Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1-ranked player now at No. 61, never faced a break point while grabbing a trio of Goffin’s service games. From 3-all at the start, Murray surged ahead by winning the last three games and 10 points of the opening set on a cloudy afternoon with winds topping 10 mph (15 kph).

That allowed Murray to improve to 8-0 against Goffin, including taking all 17 sets they’ve played against each other.

Murray, the 2009 runner-up at Indian Wells, told reporters last month that he is likely to retire before this season is over, saying: “I don’t plan on playing much past this summer.”

Murray, 36, entered Wednesday with a 2-6 mark this year. He moved into a second-round meeting with No. 5 Andrey Rublev, who was defaulted from a match last week for screaming in the face of a line judge.

Elsewhere on the hard courts in California, wild-card entry Brandon Nakashima won the first tour-level match he’s played this season, defeating 2023 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Chris Eubanks 6-3, 7-6 (3), while other men advancing included Thanasi Kokkinakis and Christopher O’Connell. Winners in the women’s draw included three-time major champion Angelique Kerber, who is back on tour after becoming a mother, along with Tatjana Maria and Marie Bouzkova.

Paula Badosa, the 2021 champion at Indian Wells who received a wild card into this year’s field, pulled out because of a long-term back injury – a day after participating with boyfriend Stefanos Tsitsipas in an exhibition doubles match.

Thursday’s schedule includes 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal facing 2016 Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic at night. It’s Nadal’s first match on tour since early January, when he tore a muscle near his surgically repaired hip shortly before the Australian Open and withdrew from the year’s first major tournament.

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