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Andy Murray has stunned the tennis world after using the underarm serve in a match for the first time in his career during his win over Spanish star Carlos Alcaraz.
Murray battled past the Spanish teen sensation - who he has tipped as a future world No.1 - 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in a battle that lasted more then three hours.
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Alcaraz, 18, who reached the quarter-finals of this year's US Open, initially looked awestruck by the occasion as a string of unforced errors left him trailing 3-0 and 0-40 at the start of the match.
But from the verge of a double-break down he grew in confidence, and took the first set before Murray's experience and versatility shone through.
However, the biggest talking point of the match was Murray's audacious under-arm ace straight from the Nick Kyrgios textbook.
In the second set, Alcaraz was standing deep to return Murray's first serve.
And Murray took full advantage with an underarm serve ace.
The crowd reacted with mixed emotions as some booed, while others cheered the tactic.
Fans on social media were just as divided to see the three-time grand slam champ use the controversial tactic so late in his career.
Have watched him a long time and never seen this before... https://t.co/7O3ddhF5ip
— Mike Dickson (@Mike_Dickson_DM) October 10, 2021
Underarm serve from Andy Murray v Carlos Alcaraz…crowd not sure how to react! 😂 #IndianWells
— Karthi Gnanasegaram (@KarthiSport) October 10, 2021
— Alistair Williams (@AlistairWilli17) October 10, 2021
— Lawrence Washington (@LWashingt0n) October 11, 2021
— Adam Cattell (@catter100) October 11, 2021
The Wimbledon and Olympic titles, the No 1 ranking, the bionic hip … and then, just when you thought you’d seen it all from Andy Murray, he goes and hits an underarm ace!!!! @andy_murray @BNPPARIBASOPEN #BNPParibasOpen https://t.co/hP0Tz80Qam
— LoveGameTennis (@LoveGame_Tennis) October 10, 2021
This is such a desperate move to me (and I love Andy)...When you don't have any ideas anymore...pfft
— Noelani137Aiday (@AidayNoelani137) October 10, 2021
Absurd serve by a player of Andy's class
— Mary Kunte (@marykunte) October 10, 2021
Nick kyrgios definitely smiling somewhere in Australia at that one! Perfectly done! Never seen him do it though.
— Chanice Hird (@Chanice_H12) October 10, 2021
Make that three of us. Have looked back at least 10 years and can find no online record of Andy Murray ever hitting an underarm serve before in a professional match. He did talk about the use of the shot last year, describing it as a "perfectly legitimate play". https://t.co/eBXGx6F2Vk
— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) October 10, 2021
Andy Murray explains underarm serve tactic
The underarm serve has become a controversial talking point in recent years due to Aussie Kyrgios' willingness to deploy the tactic.
Last year, Murray made his position on the underarm serve tactic clear when he said it was a 'legitimate' play.
And he obviously stands by his comment after using the tactic for the first time in his illustrious career at the age of 34.
"Yeah well, I mean, he started standing further back to return the first serve and the courts are painfully slow here," Murray said, when asked about the underarm serve.
"I wasn't getting many free points on my first serve, I served three aces the whole match and one of them was the underarm serve.
"I was thinking about using it again the third set, but I didn't.
"But yeah, first time I've ever done it in a match and I got the ace, so maybe I'll try it again in the future."
Murray will now play Alexander Zverev in the Round of 32.
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