Andy Murray saved three match points. It’s going to be a hit in Doha

Getty Images / Clive Brunskill / Pictured: Andy Murray

Rafal Smolinsky

On Monday, competition in the main group of the ATP 250 competition on hard courts in Doha, Qatar began. In the most interesting duel, Andy Murray turned the tide against Lorenzo Sonego.

At the 2023 Australian Open, Andy Murray captured the hearts of fans with incredible five-set fights against Matteo Berrettini and Thanasi Kokkinakis, then bravely fought Roberto Bautista. The former ATP world number one took a break from tennis after finishing his performance in Melbourne. He returned to competition on the circuit on Monday in Doha, Qatar, where he received a wild card from the organizers.

Listed at No. 70, Murray once again showed his fighting heart. After two hours and 30 minutes, he beat his ATP neighbor Lorenzo Sonego 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4). The key moment of the duel turned out to be the 10th game of the third set, in which the British defended three match points. He then came back from 0-3 in the tie-break before converting a second match point.

Thanks to a great performance, Murray took the victory and qualified for the Round of 16 of the ATP 250 tournament in Doha. On Wednesday, Alexander Zverev, who received a first-round bye, will stand in his way. The Briton is 2-1 with the German on tour, but their last duel (in 2021 in Indian Wells) ended in victory for the tennis player from our western neighbours.

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Other highly ranked tennis players also met their first opponents, who received early byes. Félix Auger-Aliassime, playing with the “two”, will face Jason Kubler in the 1/8 finals. The Australian took advantage on Monday of the health problems of Aslan Karatsev, victim of a painful fall in the tie-break of the first set. The Russian decided to retire at 7:6(4), 1:0 for the rival.

Russian Danil Medvedev, marked with the “three”, who triumphed at the ATP 500 indoor event in Rotterdam on Sunday, will face Liam Broady in the second round. The Brit won Monday’s qualifier, beating Oleksiy Krutych 6-0, 4-6, 7-6(2) in three sets. The Ukrainian had a break advantage in the deciding game but eventually lost after a tie-break.

Fernando Verdasco will have to wait for his first victory in this year’s main series, after playing well in Dallas and Delray Beach as well as qualifying for the Australian Open. The 39-year-old Spaniard, who received a wild card, lost to Christopher O’Connell 1-6, 6-3, 0-6. The Aussie could face defending champion Roberto Bautista in the second round. The Spaniard will start the fight in the Qatari capital on Tuesday with Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.

In the last match of Monday’s series of matches, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina won in straight sets. Seeded seventh, the Spaniard beat Frenchman Constant Lestienne 6-4, 6-3. His next opponent will be the 19-year-old Jordanian Abedallah Shelbayh or the Korean Soonwoo Kwon.

Qatar ExxonMobil OpenDoha, Qatar)
ATP 250, hard court, $1.377 million prize pool
monday 20 february

1st singles round:

Andy Murray (UK, WC) v Lorenzo Sonego (Italy) 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4)
Christopher O’Connell (Australia) v Fernando Verdasco (Spain, WC) 6-1, 3-6, 6-0
Liam Broady (UK, Q) v Oleksiy Krutych (Ukraine, Q) 6-0, 4-6, 7-6(2)
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (Spain, 7) v Constant Lestienne (France) 6-4, 6-3
Jason Kubler (Australia) – Aslan Karatsev 7-6(4), 1-0 and stop

free prizes: Andrei Rublev (1); Felix Auger-Aliassime (Canada, 2); Daniel Medvedev (3); Alexander Zverev (Germany, 4)

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