Andy Murray faced Alcaraz after beating Adrian Mannarino in the first round
Andy Murray defeated senior Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz 5-7 6-3 6-2 to make it to the third round at Indian Wells.
Murray took the lead 3-0, but was pushed back to 4-4 and lost the first set after failing to hit a target of 5-4 on the Alcaraz serve.
But he leveled everything in one leap – even at one point he served under the arms.
Murray, 34, broke twice in the playoff on the way to a gripping game against the 18-year-old in three hours and three minutes.
The win will give Murray, who ranks 121st in the men’s standings, a lot of cheer as he continues his recent comeback after four troubled years after a serious hip injury.
He will play against third seeded Alexander Zverev in the next round after the German defeated American Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6 6-1.
“It was a brutal match, really tough conditions,” Murray told Amazon. “The way I fought after losing the first set was great because I felt like I should have won that first set.
“I created a lot of chances, but didn’t take them. It would have been easy to gamble them away, but I kept fighting and finished well.”
Alcaraz, ranked 38th in the world, defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open in September and seemed ready to assert himself after a 67-minute first set in the match.
But he couldn’t shake a resilient Murray, who came back with his serve of 15:40 in the third game of the second set before bravely taking it with a forearm ace.
“The dishes are painfully slow here,” added Murray. “I’ve been thinking about using it [the underarm serve] again in the third sentence.
“He changed his return position towards the end of the first, he started going back further and I was like, ‘just try it and see for yourself’.
“I’ve used it, it worked well, and maybe I’ll use it again in the future when the guys are that far behind making dishes like this.”
Murray leveled the match and after breaking Alcaraz in the first game of the decisive set, his serve was back 15:40, only to fend off his rival in a game of 10 minutes 32 seconds to cement his break.
Murray then broke Alcaraz again for a formidable win as he served and volleyed the match point.
Elsewhere in the men’s draw there was a surprise when Spain Albert Ramos-Vinolas, 48th place, shocked the seventh Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sentences.
Greece’s second seed Tsitsipas reached the third round at Indian Wells for the first time when he defeated the Spaniard Pedro Martinez 6-2 6-4 to set up a clash with Fabio Fognini.
At the women’s draw Victoria Azarenka defeated Petra Kvitova 7: 5, 6: 4 as the seventh seeding list and meets her compatriot from Belarus Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who beat the eleventh seeded Simona Halep with the same number of points in the fourth round.
Polish second seed Iga Swiatek overtook the Russian Veronika Kudermetova, lost only one game, but the Ukrainian was fourth Elina Svitolina had to work a lot harder and came back from a setdown to beat Sorana Cirstea with 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3).