Murray crashes out of the Australian Open, losing 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 to Mischa Zverev
World No.50 Zverev is the lowest ranked player Murray has lost to at a Grand Slam since 2006
Zverev says afterwards: "Honestly, I don’t know how I pulled it off"
Andy Murray is out of the Australian Open after a shock defeat to world No. 50 Mischa Zverev. It is the first time Murray has lost to anybody outside the Big Four at this event since 2009.
The result must go down as one of the great disappointments for Murray, who came into the tournament as world No. 1 and saw his old foe Novak Djokovic vanquished in similarly unexpected style by Denis Istomin in the second round
When Murray smacked Zverev’s opening serve of the match back past him for a clean winner, one assumed that it would set the pattern for the match. But this turned into a much more difficult equation than anyone had guessed, and Murray simply couldn’t find a solution to Zverev’s old-fashioned net-play.
It wasn’t so much that he was confounded by Zverev’s left-handed serve, which was backed up by a series of net-rushes and slick, punchy volleys. It was more that he couldn’t hold on to his own. Zverev always seemed to know where he was going, playing a hugely canny game and capitalising on Murray’s weak second serves by chipping and charging the net.
Murray was sluggish in the opening set, allowing a 3-1 lead to slip away carelessly. Had he realised what a nightmarish afternoon this was going to turn into, he would probably have been more on his game. But no-one really saw Zverev coming. He has had no form until this last few months and is still something of an unknown quantity at this level.
Murray came back to win the second set but the third was when the match turned. The official statistics credited Zverev with just one unforced error as he kept slicing and bunting the ball with his short, deft groundstrokes.
Then, in the fourth, Zverev broke at the start and managed to hang onto his serve all the way through despite everything Murray could throw at him. Afterwards, he told on-court interviewer Jim Courier, “Honestly, I don’t know how I pulled it off.”