Andy Murray continued to defy the odds as he came back from two sets down to beat Yoshihito Nishioka 4-6 4-6 7-6(5) 7-6(4) 6-4.
The Brit used his champion instincts and fighting qualities as he came back from two sets down to seal an incredible first round win at the US Open.
Seemingly down, out and tired, Murray managed to create his own energy and outsmart Nishioka as he edged to victory.
His first grand slam win in 20 months means he plays Felix Auger-Aliassime or Thiago Monteiro next.
This was Murray’s first grand slam match since what he’d thought was his last when he lost in the first round at the Australian Open to Roberto Bautista Agut in 2019.
Just like that day, the Brit was facing a player that wasn’t going to give him too many errors in Yoshihito Nishioka.
This proved to be the case in the early stages of the match, with some punishing rallies from both men as they defended the court with some outstanding angles.
However the key difference was that Murray was up against a faster, sharper player in Nishioka, who’s court-coverage was rapid.
It was a decisive element as Nishioka broke in the seventh game with a thumping smash as he looked to take the match to the 2012 champion.
While Nishioka had the speed to cover the net quickly, Murray didn’t and this meant some of his aggressive shot making had ben missing.
A comfortable hold secured the opening set for the world number 49, 6-4 in 48 minutes.
If Murray looked slow with his footwork in the first set, then he looked even slower in the second set as Nishioka continued to punish Murray with some incredible angles and some aggressive shot-making.
Nishioka’s speed forced Murray into 19 unforced errors in the second set as he went 4-0 down in the second set.
There were positives towards the end of the set for the three-time grand slam champion as he began to finish points off at the net and dictate play with his backhand to get one of the breaks back.
However once again Nishioka held firm as he surged into a two sets to love lead.
The third set was started with a similar pattern as Murray lacked urgency and consistent power in his game as Nishioka broke straight away.
However as we all know by now the Brit never gives up and that resilience paid off half way through the third set as Nishioka started to think about the finishing line. A double fault from Nishioka gave the former champion hope as the set was level at 3-3.
As both players slowly raised their quality of play, chances were missed by both men to avoid a tiebreak.
The Brit dug in deep when it really mattered and in the tiebreak forced a couple of unforced errors to seal the third set 7-6(5). Murray started to show his fighting qualities and even with no crowd let out a huge roar.
In the fourth set both players started to create a lot more combinational play on their service game allowing a lot easier service games, limiting opportunities for their opponent.
Murray had a clear game-plan of being aggressive on his serve and only creating opportunities on return when necessary. A grittier and more defiant Murray had now entered the match.
The Brit almost ruined it all in the twelfth game after missing a simple volley but having saved match point, forced yet another tiebreak with some clutch body serves. Again, Murray dominated proceedings in the tiebreak and once again proved why he is one of the greatest fighters in tennis.
This score-line was the same one after four sets against Bautista Agut in his last grand slam match and was hoping this time it wouldn’t end in heartbreak.
At the start of the fifth set it was looking like it was going to after a double fault handed Nishioka the break for a 3-2 lead. An immaculate lob though in the following game secured the break back.
In a set full of momentum changes, Murray eventually prevailed with some aggressive return positioning and incredible angles. The comeback was complete in 4 hours and 39 minutes, proving how incredible the Brit is continuing to defy the odds.
An emotional Murray pondered on what this win means 20 months after seeing a retirement video at the Australian Open in 2019.
After the match, Murray explained the key to the comeback, “Once I got to two sets down I had to start putting the afterburners on and managed to get through,” Murray said in his on-court interview.
“I had to start striking the ball a little bit better. I was hitting the ball a little bit late, tentatively and then I went the other way and made too many unforced errors. I couldn’t get the balance right. I think at the end I started to get the balance right a bit more.
“I think I served well at the end but not so much at the beginning. I had to make a few changes (during the match) that’s for sure. I’ve seen in a couple of his matches that when he had gone up, guys have come back at him and broken back. So I tried to make as many balls as I could in that game and try to turn it around.”
Alexander Zverev Confident ATP Finals Will Be Safe To Attend
The US Open finalist speaks out about travelling to the British capital during the pandemic.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev believes the ATP Finals will be one of the safest places to be amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The world No.7 will head to London next month to play in the season-ending event which features the eight best players in the world of men’s tennis. London has recently been moved from level one to level two on the British Government’s COVID-19 tier system following a rise in cases of the virus towards 100 per 100,000. People from different households are now no longer allowed to mix inside under the new rules. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, recently said that the number of infection cases is doubling every 10 days.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, Zverev says he is confident that the event will be safe to attend. For the first time this year it is taking place behind closed doors in accordance with government rules. In 2019 242,883 fans attended the tournament over an eight-day period.
“We will stay in a hotel next to the stadium, which will be bolted. I think this will be the last place, where people are vulnerable to the coronavirus disease,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
US Open runner-up Zverev is hoping for a strong end to what has been a testing season for the sport which was halted for five months due to the pandemic. On Sunday he added to his title collection by defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets to win the bett1HULKS Indoors in Cologne. The tournament was also held without fans due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Although we didn’t have any fans inside the arena, I felt the support from home. I had the feeling playing on home soil and I hope that many fans watched the final on TV,” Zverev commented.
“It is different and more difficult this year, as we played less tournaments than usual. I hope that I can keep it up like this.” He added.
At present six players have already qualified for the ATP Finals. Besides Zverev, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev are all set to play. World No.4 Roger Federer has also qualified but will not be playing after deciding to pull the plug on his season due to a knee injury.
The O2 Arena has been home to The ATP Finals since 2009 and has welcomed more than 2.8 million fans to the event over that period. However, the event will be moved to Italy from next year.
Andy Murray Outlines Next Steps Following Cologne Defeat
The Brit says he has lost his way on the court following another early exit in a tournament.
Former world No.1 Andy Murry has admitted he is losing his way on the court following his first round exit from the Bett1HULKS Indoors event in Cologne on Tuesday.
The three-time Grand Slam champion was knocked out 6-4, 6-4, by Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco in a late-night encounter that took exactly 100 minutes. Making it the second tournament in a row he has lost his opening match following the French Open. Against Verdasco, Murray struggled with his first serve throughout as he could only win 37% of points and failed to convert nine out of his 11 break point opportunities.
“I need to get back to playing my game on the court, I’ve kind of gone away from that a little bit,” Murray told reporters after.
“I’m maybe making a few more mistakes than usual because of that.”
Currently ranked outside the top 100, Murray is still on the comeback from injury. In January 2019 he underwent hip resurfacing surgery which involved inserting a metal rod into his joint. In a recent interview the Brit said the procedure would take his body an estimated 18 months to get used to. On top of that issue, at the start of this season he was sidelined with pelvic bruising.
Injury woes aside, Murray admits that there are ‘a lot of things’ he still needs to improve on as he describes his performance as only a marginal improvement on what he produced at Roland Garros. On that occasion he could only win six matches against Stan Wawrinka before crashing out.
“I need to practice, I need to play matches and physically I need to get better,” he said.
“Some things I did a little bit better but overall it was not that much better than that match (against Wawrinka in Paris).
“It’s a surface that I’m a little bit more comfortable on, so that probably helped me. But in terms of my game, it was not much better.”
Cologne is Murray’s fourth tournament of the season due to the five-month break related to COVID-19 and his injury setback. His win-loss record currently stands at 3-4 with his best run being to the third round of the Western and Southern Open. It was at that event where he defeated Alexander Zverev whom he would have played again this week if he had defeated Verdasco.
Organisers of the Bett1HULKS Indoors have confirmed that from Wednesday no spectators will be allowed to attend the event amid a rise of COVID-19 cases in the region. Tennis Net has reported that the 250 fans are still allowed to attend under local regulations but tournament director Edwin Weindorfer has decided for it to be held behind closed doors.
Andy Murray Eyeing Revival In Form Following French Open Misery
The injury-stricken Brit outlines his goals for the remainder of the 2020 season.
Former world No.1 Andy Murray is hoping to get back on track over the coming weeks as he targets a rise to the world rankings before the season concludes.
The three-time Grand Slam winner is returning to action this week at the Bett1Hulks Indoors in what will be his first match since his one-sided defeat at the French Open. In Paris Murray could only win six games in his first round match against Stan Wawrinka as he recorded just 36% of his first serves in. The performance drew criticism from former tennis player Mats Wilander who questioned if it was right to hand the Brit a wildcard to play in the Grand Slam to begin with. A view that was branded as ‘pathetic’ by Murray’s former training partner Daniel Vallverdú.
With the Paris disappointment behind him, Murray is eager to make up for his loss on the European indoor circuit. He has been handed a tough draw in Germany this week where he will start against Spain’s Fernando Verdasco. The winner of that clash will then take on top seed Alexander Zverev. A player who Murray has already beaten this year.
“It will be good to get a few matches in over these next few weeks – I hope to perform better than I did in Paris,” said Murray.
“I want to win tournaments and move up the rankings.
“Physically, my body tends to feel better the more I play.
“Hopefully, I will play a lot over the next two weeks, perform well and see how it goes after that.”
Murray is currently ranked 115th on the ATP Tour and has only managed to play six matches this year. At the start of the season he was sidelined from action due to pelvic bruising. He is seeking a return back inside the world’s top 100 for the first time since May 2018.
In recent years Murray’s progression on the Tour has been hindered by various injury setbacks with the most serious concerning his hip. The 33-year-old has already undergone two hip surgeries with the last taking place in January 2019.
“It has gone well at times and sometimes been a struggle,” Murray reflected.
“I was told it would be an 18-month process for my body to get used to it.
“It changes the way your pelvis moves and your body needs to adjust.
“Hopefully with a few matches this autumn and some good training, next year will be a good one.”
Murray will start his campaign at the Bett1Hulks Indoors against Verdasco on Tuesday afternoon.
Maria Sakkari beats Krystina Pliskova avenging her recent defeat in Palermo
Bid To Rename Top Swiss Sports Venue After Roger Federer Fails
Frances Tiafoe beats Dusan Lajovic in Antwerp
Anett Kontaveit fends off two match points to win a hard–fought match against Ekaterina Alexandrova
Carlos Alcaraz wins his third ATP Challenger title in Alicante
French Open, Steve Flink: “Nadal is close to his best. Sinner will be in the Top 10 within a year”
Andy Murray Outlines Next Steps Following Cologne Defeat
Goran Ivanisevic Under Fire Over French Open Comment Involving Djokovic And Nadal
COMMENT: Rafa At His Best Was Way Too Much For Novak To Handle
Multiple Players Removed From French Open Qualifying After Positive COVID-19 tests
French Open, Steve Flink: “Nadal is inhuman. He can play three or four more years and retire with Djokovic”
Scanagatta And Flink: “We Both Think Djokovic Will Win The French Open, So Nadal Will Definitely Pull It Off!”
Steve Flink: “Djokovic Will Be Happy About The French Open Draw”
Flink: “Zverev wasted the lead, but Thiem would have been more affected by a loss”
(VIDEO) Dominic Thiem Finally Wins A Grand Slam
Hot Topics1 day ago
Andy Murray Names The One Player Who Intimidated Him During His Career
Hot Topics2 days ago
Novak Djokovic Will Break Federer’s Records, Says Coach
Hot Topics12 hours ago
The Greatest Tennis Players On Clay In The Open Era: An Analysis
Latest news2 days ago
Andrey Rublev continues his bid to qualify for the ATP Finals with a semifinal win over Denis Shapovalov in St. Petersburg
Hot Topics14 hours ago
Andrey Rublev On Why He Believes Rafael Nadal Is The ‘Best Ever Athlete’
Hot Topics1 day ago
Andy Murray’s Injury Woes Continue With Another Tournament Withdrawal
Latest news3 days ago
Alexander Zverev gets through to his this semifinal of the year in Cologne
Latest news2 days ago
Alexander Zverev and Felix Auger Aliassime secure their spot in the final in Cologne