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Andy Murray beats Denis Shapovalov to set up Madrid Open meeting with Novak Djokovic | Tennis News

Andy Murray claimed his first victory over a top 20 player this year in a 6-1 3-6 6-2 win over Denis Shapovalov; Murray will next face world No 1 Novak Djokovic, who earlier advanced to the last 16 with a straight sets win over Gael Monfils

Last Updated: 04/05/22 12:23 am

Andy Murray came through a thrilling encounter with Denis Shapovalov

Andy Murray outlasted Denis Shapovalov in a three-set thriller to set up a Madrid Open last-16 meeting with world No 1 Novak Djokovic.

Murray produced a stunning first-set display before Shapovalov fought hard to level the match, but the two-time champion was not to be denied his first victory over a top 20 player this year, ultimately sealing a 6-1 3-6 6- 2 win in two hours and nine minutes.

The victory sets up a first ATP Tour meeting since 2017 between Murray and long-time rival Djokovic, who earlier advanced to the last 16 with a straight sets win over Gael Monfils.

Murray admitted after the match that he was inspired by the prospect of a 37th career meeting with fellow 34-year-old Djokovic.

“I thought about it a little bit at the beginning of the third set,” Murray told Prime Video. “I didn’t know if I was going to get the chance to play matches like that again.

It was Murray's first victory this year over a top 20 player

It was Murray’s first victory this year over a top 20 player

“In theory I shouldn’t have a chance in the match, but I’ve put myself in a great position. I worked extremely hard in the last five or six weeks to get myself here and it’s a fantastic opportunity to play against him again on a huge court in a big tournament. “

The Scot, who marked his return to clay for the first time in two years with a straight-sets win against Dominic Thiem in the first round, proved too strong for Shapovalov in the deciding set.

Murray raced into an early lead, breaking Shapovalov’s serve twice on his way to taking the opening set in 36 minutes.

The British number three, behind Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans in the domestic rankings, heaped more pressure on Shapovalov’s serve in the fifth game of the second set.

Denis Shapovalov pushed Murray hard in Madrid

Denis Shapovalov pushed Murray hard in Madrid

But Murray squandered two break points and was broken for the first time in the match in the next game to trail 5-2 before Shapovalov served out to level at one set all after one hour and 25 minutes of play.

The deciding set went with serve until the fifth game, before Murray captured on his first break point of the set to edge ahead 4-2.

The Scot, currently 78th in the ATP rankings, held again for 5-2 and went 40-0 ahead on Shapovalov’s serve before sealing another impressive win on his third match point.

Murray reversed his decision to skip the entire clay-court season after being handed a wild card for Madrid and four weeks of training on the surface appears to have paid dividends.

Djokovic beats Monfils to guarantee No 1 spot

Djokovic, contesting just his fourth tournament of the season following a challenging time off-court, extended his perfect record against Monfils to 18 wins from as many matches.

The Serb guaranteed a record-extending 369th week atop the ATP rankings with a 6-3 6-2 victory and afterwards spoke of his admiration for Murray’s return to action.

Novak Djokovic beat Gael Monfils to reach the last 16

Novak Djokovic beat Gael Monfils to reach the last 16

“I have seen a few of his matches,” Djokovic told the ATP website. “He’s moving well, playing better and better.

“It’s really fantastic to see, because he’s an important player for our game. He’s made his mark in the history of our sport by winning multiple slams and gold medals and (being ranked) number one in the world. He’s one of the most important names we have.

“To have him still compete is great, and to have him even play at the high level as the time goes by is impressive, considering the surgery and what he has been through in the last few years. His resilience and fighting spirit is really inspiring . “

Draper falls short of Rublev upset

Earlier on Tuesday Jack Draper fell just short of a major scalp in a second-round loss to Andrey Rublev.

The 20-year-old is on the verge of becoming the next British player to break into the top 100 and he again showed his huge potential against sixth seed Rublev, who defeated Novak Djokovic in his home city of Belgrade to win his last tournament.

Jack Draper put up a valiant effort against Andrey Rublev

Jack Draper put up a valiant effort against Andrey Rublev

Draper overpowered his Russian opponent in the opening set and led 3-0 in the third but Rublev fought back to claim a 2-6 6-4 7-5 victory.

Draper knocked out top-30 player Lorenzo Sonego in the opening round in his first tour-level match on clay and he used his big left-handed serve and forehand to shock Rublev in the early stages.

The young Briton, who took a set off Djokovic at Wimbledon last year, also possesses a fine drop shot and is comfortable at the net, and he battled back from a break down in the second before Rublev moved ahead again.

Draper looked like he might find a way to win when he took the first three games of the decider but, with cramp starting to kick in, it was Rublev who eventually found a way through.

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