Murray, 36, recovered from a slow start to win the first set in 76 minutes. But the Briton ended up losing 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-2 to the world number 32, who secured victory in over three hours. Meanwhile, Cameron Norrie lost 6-2 6-4 against fifth seed Alexander Zverev in his second-round match in Vienna.
Murray, the former world number one, has made a practice of being engaged in protracted matches this season, and the clash with Etcheverry was another example. After preventing Etcheverry from jumping 3-0 up, the Scot displayed all of his characteristic grit and stamina to keep his opponent trapped in extended exchanges throughout a close first set that might have gone either way. Also read: Leandro Riedi Net Worth 2023, Annual Income, Prize Money, Endorsements, Cars, Houses, Charities
Murray trailed in the tie-break before creating a set point with a superb crosscourt forehand winner and converting his chance with a deft volley.
After falling a break down early in the second set, Murray was unable to take three break points as Etcheverry held on in a 16-minute seventh game – which proved key in taking the match to a decider.
Almost two and a half hours were already on the clock and both players needed time to catch their breath before Murray succumbed to a fourth break point in another long opening game. Also read: Rafael Nadal Announces Comeback at Australian Open 2024
Murray kept up the pressure on the 24-year-old Argentine, but grew more frustrated – even slamming his racquet across the court – as he was unable to create any more opportunities. Etcheverry won the remaining three games, and Murray’s fourth loss in five matches concluded a bad night for British singles players. Norrie, considered as the greatest player in the country, has battled for victories in recent months and lacks the skill to frequently threaten Germany’s Zverev.
A knee injury was another source of concern for Norrie. The left-hander asked for a medical timeout when he trailed 4-3 in the second set and British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith will also be hoping it is not a major problem. Smith, who has named Norrie in his five-man squad for the quarter-final tie against Serbia in Malaga on 23 November, already faces an anxious wait about the extent of a calf injury suffered by Dan Evans on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz says he will be fit enough to play the Paris Masters and season-ending ATP Finals after a recent foot injury. Also read: Reaching New Heights: Veronika Kudermetova Claims Second Title at Toray Pan Pacific Open