Andy Murrayrolled back the years as he pushed world number three Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in his first round exit at the US Open. Murray started with purpose, getting to every ball and being aggressive against a tight and nervy Tsitsipas. A quick double break lead was established and Murray took the opening set 6-2 as he was producing points that saw him win three grand slams.
In the second set, Tsitsipas raised his level but the Brit remained with him on the scoreboard with both players having chances to break towards the end of the set. Murray couldn’t convert two break points on Tsitsipas’ serve while the Greek’s ability to be passive cost him a break of serve of his own.
In the end the second set went to a tiebreak with Murray producing some high quality points once again to create two set points. However the humidity was making the Brit’s shoes slippery and with no spares the former world number one slipped in some crucial moments. Tsitsipas took advantage of some Murray errors and took the tiebreak 9-7 to level the match at one set all.
However Murray provided the perfect response as he got the quick break to lead 3-0 at the start of the third set. Some more trademark play from the multiple time grand slam champion saw him come through a 10 minute game to hold for 4-1 and eventually a crisp forehand winner sealed a two set to one lead. A fired up Murray made it known to the crowd that he wasn’t done yet.
In the fourth set it was Tsitsipas’ turn to respond in perfect fashion as after a medical time-out on his ankle, he responded with a double break lead of his own playing some of his best tennis of the match. Clean backhand winners and perfectly constructed points saw him deny Murray a comeback and take the fourth set 6-3 to force a deciding set.
That’s when Tsitsipas when for his trademark tactical toilet break that would last seven minutes which infuriated Murray who complained throughout the fifth set. The world number three would take advantage and break in the first game. Despite having a break point in the fourth game Murray couldn’t break through as Tsitsipas claimed victory and a place in the second round.
A cold handshake would follow as Murray was seemingly angry with the way the match turned out. After the match in his press conference the Brit would go on to say that he’s lost respect for Tsitsipas:
“I rate him a lot. I think he’s a brilliant player. I think he’s great for the game. But I have zero time for that stuff at all, and I lost respect for him.
“Every single time it was before my serve, as well. Also in the fourth set when I had 0-30, he chose to go and I think he changed his racquet. It can’t be coincidence that it’s happening at those moments. It’s just disappointing because I feel it influenced the outcome of the match. I’m not saying I necessarily win that match, for sure, but it had influence on what was happening after those breaks.”
Speaking on his own performance Murray took the positives and believes he can hang with the best:
“I mean, I’ve said it a lot over this last few months, that I know I’m capable of playing that tennis,” Murray said.
“I need to spend time on the court, getting the chance to play against these guys. Ultimately when I get on the court with them, need to prove it. I guess tonight I proved some things to a certain extent.
“From a physical perspective, I thought I did quite well. Would have liked to have done a little bit better physically at times. But there was also other circumstances that were not helping that either. Overall I did well tonight, but I’m really, really disappointed, really disappointed after that, frustrated, all those things.”
Play continues at the US Open from 11am (4pm BST).
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