Andy Murray has reflected on his "tough draws" after he cruised past Denis Kudla at ATP San Diego, and he will next take on Casper Ruud.
Murray, who won in straight sets, 6-3 6-2, faced a last minute change of opponent following the withdrawal of Japan's Kei Nishikori on Tuesday as the American stepped in.
Kudla was in his car on the motorway driving to Los Angeles - after having failed to advance in the qualifying tournament - when he received the notification that he would be able to step in for Nishikori.
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Murray was given a wildcard entry into the hard-court tournament, and the 34-year-old beat the world number 94 in 69 minutes in southern California.
The Brit, who is currently ranked 109th in the world, will next take on Norwegian second seed Ruud, the world number 10 who had a starring role at the Laver Cup last week.
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Murray is keen to improve his ranking in order to benefit from more favourable draws in tournaments, as he feels he has had a rough ride over the last few years.
'I've had some some tough draws' - Murray reacts after winning in San Diego
"Well, first and foremost, it's great to be on the court, sort of healthy and competing like week after week for the first time," Murray said in his post-match interview on court.
"Yeah, really, for the first time since 2017, it's been a long time and I'm starting to feel better with each match.
The rankings, you know, it's not the number one priority. But I've had some tough draws in the last few months.
"Obviously, your ranking gets high enough and you can start to get seeded and eventually you avoid that. So, yeah, I want to try and win and push my ranking up to give myself a better chance of having a deep run in some of the major tournaments again."
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Reflecting on having to face Kudla at the last moment, Murray admitted it was tough for both him and his opponent to react after Nishikori's withdrawal.
"Yeah, I mean, it's obviously not that easy, I only found out probably about an hour and a half before we went on the court. So, you know, there's obviously little time to prepare," Murray said.
"I've practised with Denis a few times, but I don't think we've ever played in a match before. So not easy, so I tried to ask around a few of the players and get a few tips maybe on what his strengths are and weaknesses.
"But yeah, it's not easy for him because he was on his way to L.A. when he found out, in the car. It's not like he was playing around here.
"So it's obviously a great effort from him to come out and come back and play and give you guys a match. I hope you enjoyed it, but yeah, not easy for him."
Looking ahead, Murray will be hoping to have a very strong and healthy off-season as he aims to make a real impact at Melbourne Park in what is one of his favourite tournaments - the Australian Open.
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