Andy Murray pinpoints turning point in comeback after winning in San Diego first round

Andy Murray strolled through his opener in San Diego after a last-minute change of opponent. The three-time Grand Slam champion was set to take on fellow former top five player Kei Nishikori but the Japanese player pulled out 90 minutes before the match, with lucky loser Denis Kudla stepping in. The switch didn’t seem to affect Murray, who needed just 69 minutes to beat the world No/94 and is now setting his expectations even higher.

Murray’s comeback has started to pick up momentum of late, as the former world No.1 reached the third round of Wimbledon by beating the 24th seed en route, and pushed third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in his US Open first-round before making his first quarter-final in 23 months at last week’s Moselle Open.

The current world No.109 has continued his great run of form, needing just an hour and nine minutes to get through his opener at the San Diego Open.

The 34-year-old was set to play fellow tour veteran Nishikori in a blockbuster first round, with both receiving wild cards into the tournament, but the former world No.4 pulled out citing a back injury just 90 minutes before the match was set to begin, and lucky loser Denis Kudla was granted a spot in the draw to face Murray.

The last-minute change did nothing to hamper the Brit’s pre-match preparations, as he breezed through and overcame the American 6-3 6-2 with a dominant performance full of vintage-Murray lobs and rallies.

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The 46-time title winner has since added to his high expectations, saying he thinks he can beat higher-ranked players as he prepares to face Ruud

He continued: “I’ve had opportunities in those matches against the top players I’ve played.

“I think I can beat them. I just need to start converting some of my opportunities against them and I get an opportunity on Thursday to do that against Ruud.”

Ruud comes into San Diego fresh off the back of his Laver Cup debut, where he was part of Team Europe, as the squad won for the fourth time in four editions and lost just one match over the three-day event.

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