By Ros Satar
- Andy Murray [PR] def. Ugo Humbert 3-6, 7-5, 6-2
- Murray faces old friend and foe Stan Wawrinka for the title
ANTWERP, BELGIUM – Andy Murray came from a set down to fight his way into his first final since winning Dubai in 2017.
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Andy Murray [PR] def. Ugo Humbert 3-6, 7-5, 6-2
What seemed like an impossible prospect in January, watching Andy Murray tearfully accept his career might over. The free hitting #NextGenATP Milan candidate Ugo Humbert was not overawed by who was over the other side of the net.
Despite being the first to have a sniff of a break point, Murray could not convert his chances – and was made to pay as Humbert made no mistake in the next game on his own two chances. All it took was for that single break for the Frenchman to take a one set lead.
The second set saw Murray take a lead, only to hand that advantage straight back in the next game as the cat and mouse continued. It took three set/break points for Murray to level the match and take it to a decider.
This time the momentum stayed with Murray who quickly racked up a 3-0 lead and finished with a flourish, breaking for the match.
As reported in ATPTour.com, Murray said: “I am obviously happy to be in the final. I did very well to turn that match around today. It was tough. He was playing huge from the back of the court… It was tricky today, but I am obviously happy to be back in a final.”
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Murray v Stan Wawrinka [4/WC] | Murray leads H2H 11-8
There have been many memorable encounters between the pair, and it is telling that in their last encounter, when both had been struggling with injuries, it was Murray who bettered old friend and foe Stan Wawrinka in Eastbourne.
Wawrinka’s return from injury and knee surgery has been equally determined and has had to contend with more recent injury problems of his own this year, having been out since the US Open with a foot injury. He took a wildcard into Antwerp for his debut.
His semi-final win over Humbert was Murray’s first tour-level semi-final since losing to Wawrinka at Roland Garros, 2017, and that two-year landmark could well be reached if he claims his first title since winning in Dubai 2017.
“I think it will be a nice match to play,” Murray told reporters. “Me and Stan have played a lot against each other… It is nice that we are both able to be back playing against each other in a final.”
Playing against one of the best single-handed backhands on tour, Wawrinka plays an offensive game and has proved his skills on all surfaces over the years. Where once his mental strength and fortitude was his weakness, he has become one of the stronger and tougher opponents on the tour, and like Murray has three Slam titles to his name.
Murray has at times looked a little fatigued and has had two very tough matches in the quarter-final and semi-final to get this far.
Wawrinka might be getting over a foot injury but it has been a pretty gruelling few weeks for Murray as he continues his comeback. If nothing, for him to reach a final after surgery this year and rekindling his career is nothing short of miraculous. Wawrinka just appears to be a little fresher, and generally over the year more match-sharp.
Prediction: Wawrinka in three sets.
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