Murray had predicted the 18-year-old as a future world No. 1, but it was the veteran Scot who outlasted his opponent in the desert heat, winning 5-7 6-3 6-2 in nearly three hours.
“He’s obviously got so much potential, so much firepower and these conditions it’s not easy to finish points off quickly, but he’s able to because he has so much pace from the back of the court so I had to fight extremely hard, coming back from a set down,” Murray said as per reports on News24.
“I felt like in the second set he played maybe better. First set I felt like I had more of the opportunities but didn’t get it so yeah, happy with the way I fought. He’s a top-drawer young player.”
Alcaraz, who made a name for himself by reaching the quarterfinals of this year’s US Open, came back from a double-break down.
A miscalculation by Alcaraz offered Murray a set point at 5-4 in the topsy-turvy first, but the Spaniard rebounded with a huge serve and broke Murray a second time before serving out.
At the start of the second set, Murray resorted to increasingly desperate efforts to control his opponent’s scorching groundstrokes, saving a break point before sealing the set with an audacious underarm ace.
Murray was had to fight hard to serve out the set in such a tightly fought match. But he accomplished so in the end to force the match into a decider.
After three hours and four minutes, Murray effectively sealed a vitally momentous victory with a double break.
Murray’s memorable victory after surgery
Murray told Amazon Prime Video’s Mark Petchey that the victory was one of his greatest. Especially since hip resurfacing surgery two years ago.
“It was a brutal match, really tough conditions,” he said. “I feel that I should have won that first set.
“I had a lot of chances but didn’t take them. It would have been easy to let the match slip away but I kept fighting and finished it well.
“I wanted to try and match his energy throughout the match. He’s obviously a young guy who brings a lot of energy. In a way, I was trying to mirror him as best as I could.
“It’s tough to stay focused and not to get frustrated in these conditions. I did a better job than I have done in a lot of my matches recently of focussing on the next point and not think about what just happened.
“My game has not been great. I’ve not been happy with how I’ve been playing so I said to myself this week, ‘regardless of how I play, I’ve never liked the conditions here so just accept that you’re probably not going to play great,
“But the best you can do is fight for every single point, give your best on every single point and see what happens’.
“I played some good stuff today, not always, but a really good attitude and I’ve won two matches on the back of that.”