By Ros Satar

  • Andy Murray [PR] def. Stan Wawrinka [4] 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
  • Wins first title since Dubai 2017, and first since hip-surgery in January
ANTWERP, BELGIUM – Andy Murray battled from a set down to beat Stan Wawrinka to claim his first title since Dubai 2017, after career-saving hip surgery in January.

 

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Andy Murray [PR] def. Stan Wawrinka [4] 3-6, 6-4, 6-4

Andy Murray clawed his way back from a set down to deny Stan Wawrinka the ATP Antwerp European Open title, claiming his first since Dubai 2017 and surely capping off one of the most remarkable injury comebacks in the sport.

That we can even talk about Murray in a final after that tearful press-conference at the beginning of the year is nothing short of miraculous but at the start of the match Wawrinka showed the level of fitness and match-sharpness that Murray needs to get to, to be able to challenge in the higher echelons of the sport once more.

It was just a single early break in the first set that put Murray on the back foot, he had chances to break straight back and just could not take those opportunities, leaving Wawrinka to eventually close out the set.

Another early break at the start of the second set spelled trouble for the Brit but a sudden dip in Wawrinka’s focus saw Murray pick off seven points in a row, on the way to break Wawrinka for a timely plot twist. Although Wawrinka settled back into his usual aggressive play, Murray successfully deflected a couple of break points to keep himself just ahead and needed just one set point to level the match.

Having played each other so many times, both with three Slams in their pocket, we were in for a tight tussle to the finish, with a flurry of four successive breaks to ratchet up the blood pressure up a little.

Wawrinka had his chances to take the lead and tip the balance in the penultimate game, but it came down to a nail-biting finish at the end, with Murray fighting to get an advantage n the final break, breaking with just one match point for his first title since Dubai 2017, when ranked World No. 1.

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The emotions were not far behind in a week that saw him announce the impending birth of his third child and speaking about the support he has received in these years from his wife Kim.

The tears did not last too long, but now a long rest is in order after a successful Asian swing and winning indoor European swing.

Wawrinka will rue his chances, but put it best when he said, in his on-court interview: “Even if I’m sad I lost today I’m really happy to see you back at that level. You are an amazing champion and you deserve that so congrats.”

 

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Murray said, after the match (on-court): “This is one of the biggest wins I’ve had after everything. It means a lot. The past few years have been extremely difficult. Both me and Stan have had a lot of injury problems in the past couple of years.

“Amazing to be back playing against him in a final like that. I think it was a great match. I didn’t expect to be in this position at all, so I’m very happy.”

Murray is likely to be named on Monday as part of team captain Leon Smith’s five-man team for the Davis Cup Finals, to be held in Madrid.

 

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