Andy Murray rolled back the years, beating England’s Jack Draper in a deciding tie-break, to exit the Battle of the Brits tier on day one.
The 35-year-old cruised to a 6-2 1-6 12-10 win for the Scottish side in Aberdeen after England’s Dan Evans won the opener.
Draper, 20, built momentum in the 10-point tiebreaker, but Murray turned the tide with some trademark fuss.
“Although I’m still able to do it, that’s what it’s all about,” he said.
“Will to win, fighting for every point, chasing every ball. It was part luck, part skill.
“A few shots were fired and it was an amazing ending. I haven’t played many tiebreakers like this before.”
Murray channeled the staunch home support to break three times in the first set, claiming it via a second set point on Draper’s serve.
The Englishman reacted strongly, breaking Murray three times to claim the second set, showing the form that carried him to this year’s Next Gen Final for the best young players on the ATP Tour.
In the deciding tie-break he opened a 6-3 lead before Murray whipped the crowd after reaching a wide ball to force a backhand winner down the line.
The Scot rode that wave of level support and eventually claimed victory on a third match point with a superb forehand winner.
“We have Jamie Murray to thank a lot” – Evans
Evans, 32, had put the England team in charge, winning the opener with a 6-4 6-2 victory over McHugh, 373rd in the Scottish table.
The world number 27 repeated the straight-sets win he had in his only previous encounter against the 22-year-old from Glasgow at the inaugural Battle of the Brits tournament in 2020.
Evans thanked tournament director Jamie Murray for organizing the event – the Scot hosted the first two meetings of the Battle of the Brits during the lockdown, without spectators, at a time when the regular tennis tours had been interrupted.
“We have a lot to thank him [Jamie Murray] for,” the Birmingham-born player said. “He really looked after us during Covid.
“I had a great chance to come and do it in front of the public and it wasn’t even really a choice.
“All the players were always going to come. He’s done an amazing job selling this place out, so thank you so much Jamie. It’s an amazing event and I can’t wait to play in many more.”
Evans still has one singles match to play against Andy Murray in Thursday’s afternoon session.
The Battle of the Brits – between the Scotland team and the England team – comprises four men’s singles matches and two men’s doubles matches spread over two days, Wednesday to Thursday 21 and 22 December.
In addition to playing against Evans, Andy Murray is due to play with his brother Jamie in a doubles match, potentially for the last time in their careersto close the tournament on Thursday evening.