18-yr-old Jakub Mensik stuns Andy Murray in Qatar Open after gruelling encounter

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DOHA: Former World No. 1 Andy Murray was knocked out of the Qatar Open by 18-year-old Jakub Mensik in an exceptional marathon second-round match in Doha.

The Czech overcame Murray 7-6(6), 6-7(3), 7-6(4) in a phenomenal three hours and 23 minutes second-round battle at the hard-court ATP 250 in Doha.

“I’m just speechless right now, I don’t know what to say. I know that a lot of the fans wanted Andy to win today, so hopefully they will come to watch my match tomorrow,” said Mensik as quoted by ATP.

“I’m just happy. It was a tough match today. Andy is an unbelievable player, I know that. When I was young, I watched him win Wimbledon two times, so it’s unbelievable that he can still compete with the best players in the world,” he added.

Mensik stayed tight to win his first deciding-set tie-break in a tour-level match, having twice failed to serve out the match when Murray stormed back from a 2-5 deficit in the third set. The 18-year-old defeated the tenacious Murray in three hours and twenty-four minutes, concluding with 18 wins, including 12 aces, according to ATP Stats.

Murray nearly achieved another incredible comeback at a tournament where he won two titles the previous year by preserving match points. But this time, the British player was unable to finish the match, and he will be forced to regret missing a backhand volley on the first of his two set points from 6/4 in the second set.

Mensik has now risen 14 places to No. 102 in the ATP Live Rankings as a result of his Doha run so far.

“The first set it was tough with the conditions, the wind started a little bit. The tie-break was not such good quality, and I was a little bit lucky in the end. In the third set, I was 5-2, and then when it was 5-5 I just said, ‘Go on. This guy will not give me any points.’ I tried to stay calm and in the tie-break, I’m just super happy I stayed focused until the end,” reflected Mensik.

Andrey Rublev’s passage to the last eight could hardly have been more different to his next opponent Mensik’s. The World No. 5 cruised past Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-4 in just 57 minutes to advance to his fourth quarterfinal in as many events for 2024.

“I’m really happy to be able to win in straight sets. It feels better than to have this stress with three sets and you don’t know how the match is going to go. It’s always nice to play shorter to be ready for tomorrow,” said Rublev in his on-court interview. (ANI)

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