Mur­ray wins 1st ATP fi­nal since hip surgery

The Korea Times - - SPORTS -

AN­TWERP, Bel­gium (AP) — Andy Mur­ray claimed his first ATP tour ti­tle in more than 2 1/2 years at the Euro­pean Open on Sun­day in only his sixth sin­gles tour­na­ment since re­turn­ing from hip surgery in Jan­uary.

The 32-year-old Mur­ray ral­lied to beat fel­low three-time Grand Slam cham­pion Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the fi­nal.

The last time he lifted sil­ver­ware in sin­gles came in Dubai in March 2017, so it was no sur­prise that the tears quickly flowed for the Bri­tish player.

“Ob­vi­ously it means a lot, the last few years have been ex­tremely dif­fi­cult, both me and Stan have had a lot of in­jury prob­lems the last cou­ple of years,” Mur­ray said in an on-court in­ter­view broad­cast by Amazon Prime.

“I just man­aged to hang in a bit at the end of the sec­ond set and the third set was ex­tremely close again. I didn’t ex­pect to be in this po­si­tion so I’m very happy. This is one of the big­gest wins that I’ve had af­ter ev­ery­thing so I’m very proud.”

It was their gru­el­ing French Open semi­fi­nal two years ago that ex­ac­er­bated phys­i­cal is­sues for both play­ers. Mur­ray spent the next 18 months try­ing to find a so­lu­tion to his hip prob­lems that would en­able him to live with­out pain, while Wawrinka un­der­went two knee op­er­a­tions.

Af­ter un­der­go­ing hip resur­fac­ing surgery, Mur­ray re­turned to the court in June play­ing dou­bles — in­clud­ing at Wim­ble­don — be­fore moving back to sin­gles in Au­gust.

The 34-year-old Wawrinka was look­ing for his first ATP ti­tle since the 2017 Geneva Open.

The cru­cial break of serve in the first set came in the sec­ond game, with Mur­ray sav­ing two break points but not a third, and his Swiss op­po­nent served it out 6-3.

Mur­ray looked in deep trou­ble when Wawrinka broke again in the third game of the sec­ond set, and the Scot had to save more break points to avoid los­ing a fourth game in a row.

But, hav­ing dug in, he got his re­ward as Wawrinka’s serve went off the boil and his level dipped, with Mur­ray break­ing back to 3-3.

Wawrinka had two more chances at 4-4 but again Mur­ray fought off the dan­ger and it was Mur­ray who then took his first set point to clinch it 6-4 and level the match.

Wawrinka stepped up again early in the third set and was twice a break ahead but once more Mur­ray dug in, hit­ting back im­me­di­ately both times.

Mur­ray saved two more break points at 4-4 to leave Wawrinka serv­ing to stay in the match. When Wawrinka blazed a fore­hand well off tar­get on the first match point, it was the for­mer top-ranked Mur­ray cel­e­brat­ing a re­mark­able come­back.

Mur­ray is now ex­pected to take a break un­til the Davis Cup fi­nals next month while he waits for the birth of his third child.

“I’ll have three kids un­der 4 years old. I need to get on the road so we don’t get out of con­trol,” Mur­ray joked. “I’m ex­cited for the third kid. My wife’s been a huge sup­port for get­ting me back on the court and mak­ing me fight to keep play­ing.”

AP-Yonhap

Andy Mur­ray of Bri­tain poses with the tro­phy af­ter win­ning the Euro­pean Open fi­nal ten­nis match in An­twerp, Bel­gium, Sun­day. Mur­ray de­feated Stan Wawrinka of Switzer­land 3-6/6-4/6-4.

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