Andy Murray defeats Frances Tiafoe in epic European Open encounter

Andy Murray defeats Frances Tiafoe in epic European Open encounter

Andy Murray had an epic first round battle with Frances Tiafoe at the European Open, winning 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (10-8) in Antwerp after close from four hours.

The former world No.1 showed great endurance to outsmart his 23-year-old opponent after three tie-breaks and arranged a second-round meeting with Diego Schwartzman. “It’s the longest straight set game I’ve ever played by far,” Murray said afterwards. “It was an incredible battle. “

Returning to the stage of his last singles title in 2019, Murray was on the back foot as soon as Tiafoe opened up a 3-1 lead in the first set. The American then needed a long medical break for what looked like a back problem. Murray returned to the level at 5-5, only for both men to lose their next service matches with Tiafoe missing a set point.

Murray won the first set after winning the tie-break 7-2, closing it with a double mini-break followed by back-to-back aces. The second set was another close affair, as both players dug deep to push back the break chances of remaining on serve, with Murray saving a set point to hold and force another tie-break.

Tiafoe got the upper hand, with a booming forehand on the line helping him head towards a set point – only for Murray to respond again and equalize at 6-6. World number 48 Tiafoe finally won the set on the sixth attempt as the game neared the three-hour mark.

In the decider, both players failed to hold on after a break early in the set, with Tiafoe holding on under pressure when serving to stay in the game at 5-4. In the final tie-break Murray took an early advantage but was reduced to 5-5, before Tiafoe secured a match point which the 34-year-old saved with a booming serve.

Murray took his first match point at 9-8 when Tiafoe hit the net to end the game after three hours and 46 minutes.

“Today my body is old, I played a lot of matches on the tour – but it took it to another level,” Murray said. “It was a brilliant game with an incredible atmosphere. It’s so nice to play in front of crowds again, especially so early in the week. I’m going to use my day off tomorrow to try to rest and hopefully feel good for Thursday. “


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