Andy Murray beat Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the European Open final in Antwerp, for his first ATP title for over two years.
Launching a stunning comeback from a set and a break down, Murray described it as “one of the biggest” wins of his career. “It means a lot,” he said. [The] last few years have been extremely difficult. Both Stan and I have had many injury problems over the last couple of years; it’s amazing to be back playing against him in a final like that.”
For large parts of the first set, it looked as if Murray was struggling with Wawrinka’s scintillating backhand – looking understandably sluggish in both his returns and movement around the court. This dominance continued into the second set, as Murray found himself saving two break points to storm into a 4-3 lead, before forcing a decider through a series of his trademark passing shots.
Both players showed signs of jitters in the final set, with a number of unforced errors contributing towards four consecutive breaks of serve. However, at 4-4, Murray again rallied to save another series of break points, going into the final game of the set in control.
Synonymous of the match itself, Murray fell behind 40-15 in the deciding game, only to then fight back and set himself up for match point. Wawrinka consequently skewed a forehand wide, to hand Murray his first singles title since 2017.
The 32-year-old will finish the year just outside the top 100, which is a testament of the progress made over the past month on the court.
This particular triumph also represents the incredible recovery Murray has made from the hip surgery he underwent just earlier this year, one that was expected to end his career of tennis at the highest level.
Extended highlights of the encounter can be viewed, here.
Photo: Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA