Andy Murray suffered another heartbreaker against Alex de Minaur as he crashed out of the Rolex Paris Masters despite serving for the victory twice and holding a match point. The Brit came into the match with a 0-5 record against the Australian and he extended his losing streak as de Minaur came through 7-6(6) 4-6 7-5, winning the last five games in a row.
Murray had already suffered defeat to de Minaur on three occasions this year. The Australian routined Murray in Monte Carlo and Queen’s before edging out the Brit in a close contest at the recent China Open. It was the same story of frustration for Murray early on in the match, as he was broken on a double fault in an opening seven-minute game.
But the world No 40 refused to let his opponent run away with it, clearly hungry for his first win over de Minaur in six meetings. With his team spurring him on, Murray sprung into life as he broke to love to level things at 4-4. It was all one-way traffic for the 2016 champion, who won three games in a row and had three set points with the world No 13 serving at 4-5 down.
Murray couldn’t do anything with his set point chances as de Minaur kept himself alive. It was a shaky first-set tiebreak for both men, with Murray struggling to find his first serve. The pair traded mini-breaks until the 24-year-old had a chance to serve for it at 6-4. De Minaur served a double fault but he still managed to close out the 66-minute set courtesy of an error from Murray.
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The 36-year-old was visibly frustrated with himself as he sat down at the changeover, already looking like he was about to blow during the tiebreak. But it was an immediate response from Murray to start the second as he broke de Minaur in the opening game. Murray just couldn’t keep the momentum, however, as the 13th seed broke straight back.
He continued to chip away at de Minaur and got a crucial breakthrough to lead 5-4, serving out the second set in 48 minutes to force a decider. Just like in the second set, it was the world No 40 who broke in the opening game and this time he was able to maintain his lead, reeling off his fourth game in a row to go 2-0 up. Murray hurtled towards the finish line as he broke the 13th seed for the second time to serve for the match.
But the contest still wasn’t over, as de Minaur gave himself a lifeline by breaking back. History suddenly started repeating itself as Murray was broken while serving for the match again at 5-4 despite having a match point, just weeks after he lost to the Australian in Beijing after serving for the match and having three match points.
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De Minaur continued his streak of games, winning his fourth in a row to lead 6-5 and guarantee himself at least a tiebreak. But he didn’t need it, as the Australian pulled off an escape against Murray, breaking one final time to win 7-6(5) 4-6 7-5 and extend his record against the three-time Major winner to 6-0.
It means that the Brit still hasn’t won a match at the Rolex Paris Masters since he was crowned the champion in 2016, also reaching No 1 in the world for the first time during his triumphant run to the title. Murray has just one tour-level event left for the season, the Moselle Open.
He has also been named in Britain’s Davis Cup squad for the Finals week taking place at the end of November. With Dan Evans officially pulling out of the team event through injury, Murray is set to be the nation’s No 2 player in the singles. Team captain Leon Smith watched on as he crashed out in Paris and will be hoping that Murray can find some form ahead of the World Cup of men’s tennis as Britain takes on Serbia in the quarter-final.
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