DOHA: Former World No. 1 Andy Murray clawed past two-time ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev 7-6(5), 2-6, 7-5 after a gruelling three-hour-and-three minutes marathon battle to reach the quarter-finals of the Qatar Open 2023 on Wednesday.
Murray was twice two points away from loss when he served to remain in the third set at 4-5.
The 35-year-old broke former World No. 2 Zverev in the following game after surviving the 10th game of the decider when the German missed a neutral backhand long. Murray was expressive throughout the fight. Yet, after earning a critical service break, the Scot discreetly raised his fist towards his player box, which featured Mark Hilton and Judy Murray.
Murray did not squander his chance to score another thrilling victory in Doha. He celebrated his victory with a backhand winner before hugging Zverev at the net.
Murray had to fight hard in the opening round to beat Italian Lorenzo Sonego in a final-set tie-break. The former world number one will face French qualifier Alexandre Muller, who defeated eighth seed Botic van de Zandschulp 6-2, 6-4.
“It makes a big difference for the players when we come and get a lot of energy and a great atmosphere from the crowd. Hopefully, that continues the rest of the week, but I obviously enjoyed playing in that atmosphere tonight,” ATP.com quoted Murray as saying after the match.
“Not so familiar, but he’s obviously had a good week this week coming through qualifying. He will have played four matches now, so obviously likes these conditions. My coach will obviously watch video and stuff tonight to get a bit more familiar with his game, but it’s an opportunity for me in the quarters tomorrow and time to rest up and get ready for that one,” Murray said.
In the last match of the day, third seed Daniil Medvedev eliminated British qualifier Liam Broady 6-4, 6-3. Medvedev will next face Australian Christopher O’Connell, who upset defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.
“I saw they were in the third set when I came on, so I didn’t know who won. Big win for him against Roberto. I didn’t see the match. I know that he can play well, so have to play my best tennis to try to win tomorrow,” said Medvedev.
“Never easy to come from [an] indoor hard-court tournament to outdoors. Was feeling pretty tough on the court You’re always a little bit rusty [making the transition]. Happy to win and happy to be through in the next round,” he added. (ANI)