Andy Murray beats Alexander Zverev in Doha three-set thriller to reach quarter-finals

Andy Murray faced Alexander Zverev for the fourth time

Andy Murray faced Alexander Zverev for the fourth time© Getty

Andy Murray earned an impressive win over Alexander Zverev 7-6(5) 2-6 7-5 to advance to his first quarter-final of the year in Doha. It was another lengthy contest for the Brit who won a 76-minute first set before dropping the second, rallying to eventually close out the match in three hours and two minutes.

Murray and Zverev were facing off for the fourth time in a battle of the Olympic champions, with the Brit coming off the back of yet another epic match in 2023 as he saved three match points to down Lorenzo Sonego 4-6 6-1 7-6(4). Meanwhile, the German was playing just his third tournament since getting injured at last year’s French Open.

The sixth seed in Doha this week, Zverev received a bye to the second round and was hoping to get another win after starting the year with a 2-2 record, and he was the first to pounce as he broke Murray in the third game of the match. But the two-time former champion immediately broke back and saved another break point to lead 3-2.

While serving at 4-4, a correction was called on a shot that Murray claimed affected his shot but the point went to the German who was able to break and get the chance to serve for the opening set. For a second time, the world No 70 was able to break Zverev straight back and kept himself alive in the first set at 5-5 before it was his turn to hold a break point and set point a game later.

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The former world No 2 was able to hold on and forced a tiebreak, where he was thrown off by what he thought was a let call, allowing Murray to get a crucial mini-break and the three-time Major champion finally closed out a 76-minute set 7-6(5). But it was a different story in set number two, as Zverev was the one to race to a 3-0 lead as he broke and finally backed it up with a service hold.

Murray was under threat once again at 1-4 down but he rallied to save two more break points, keeping himself alive in the second set. It didn’t last long though, as Zverev broke the 46-time title winner for a second time in the set and sealed it with an overhead winner, taking it 6-2 to force a decider.

The former world No 1 continued to find himself under pressure in the third and final set, saving a break point in his first two service games. Murray then found himself dragged to deuce while serving to stay in the match at 4-5 but survived and was the one taking control a game later, setting up two break points on the Zverev serve and taking his first to serve for the match after almost three hours on court.


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Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2023 Tennis Tournament

Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2023 Tennis Tournament© Getty

And Murray was able to book his spot in the last eight as he closed out a marathon 7-6(5) 2-6 7-5 victory, extending his head-to-head record over Zverev to 3-1. He will now face surprise quarter-finalist Alexandre Muller, the 26-year-old Frenchman ranked at No 170 who came through qualifying.

It was yet another long thriller starring Murray, who was the centre of two epic five-set battles at the Australian Open as well as Monday’s three-set contest against Sonego.

His opening round in Doha wasn’t the first time he won from match-point down in 2023, as he did the same to outlast 13th seed Matteo Berrettini in the first round of the Aussie Open before coming from two sets down to beat Thanasi Kokkinakis in a match that became his longest ever with his latest ever finish.

It also means that Zverev walks away with a losing 2-3 record for the season so far as he continues his comeback from a horror injury sustained during last year’s French Open semi-final. The 25-year-old snapped several ligaments in his ankle and was later diagnosed with a bone edema in September, meaning he didn’t play for the last seven months of the 2022 season.

Source:Daily Express

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