Andy Murray Into Citi Open Quarterfinals After Emotional Three Set Victory
Andy Murray scored an emotional victory at 3 A.M. against Marius Copil in the Citi Open round of 16 to reach the quarterfinals after a third consecutive three set victory.
Just like his first round clash against MacKenzie McDonald, Murray dropped the opening set, meaning he would need three hours to defeat Marius Copil 6-7 6-3 7-6 in a match that took place after midnight in Washington. Copil fired 20 aces in the matches and won 84% of his first serve points, however it was Murray saving 5 of 6 break points on his own serve that made the difference in the end as the journeyman Copil missed the moments he had to capture the win.
Murray faced break points in three service games of the opening set while Copil faced none. The tiebreak then went to Copil despite Murray going up 5-0 remarkably. From that stage Copil reeled off 7 straight points to take a one set lead. Set 2 was far more straightforward, Murray broke in the first game and held with relative ease in all but one game to take it 6-3 with Copil giving up the final game of the set via a break. In set 3 both players wore down as Murray took a 4-2 lead after applying pressure on second serve return, but he was broken back and a tiebreak would eventually ensue. The tiebreak started 3-1 Murray and finished 7-4 Murray as he took his third match point in the tiebreak to prevail.
After the match he cried into his towel and expressed strong emotion at his accomplishment. Later in the post match press conference he expressed significant frustration about the matching taking place so late and the strain on his ability to perform that the late night would cause, as he now has to play the quarterfinal on Friday. That quarterfinal will take place against Alex De Minaur. The young Aussie won twice on Wednesday, defeating Steve Johnson 6-4 7-5 and then upsetting Hyeon Chung 6-2 4-6 6-2 as it’s clear Chung is still shaking the cobwebs off his game after a long injury layoff.
Zverev and Nishikori Set Quarterfinal Clash
Defending champion Alexander Zverev is into the quarterfinals as well. Zverev won relatively routinely 6-3 7-5 over his brother Mischa as he dominated the first set and then had to fight off break point chances created by Mischa to close out the match.
Kei Nishikori will be the next opponent for Zverev, he defeated Denis Shapovalov 7-6 6-3. Shapovalov got sloppy late in the first set and never pressured the Nishikori serve. The match between Nishikori and Zverev looks mouthwatering.
Remaining Men’s Quarterfinals Set at the Citi Open
David Goffin defeated home favorite Frances Tiafoe 6-0 6-3 as Tiafoe never found his footing against the accomplished tour veteran. Goffin faces next gen star Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarters after Tsitsipas defeated James Duckworth 6-3 6-4.
Local fans can still rally behind Denis Kudla though, Kudla upset Lucas Pouille 7-5 6-7 7-6 in a battle. Both players had a bevy of aces (18 for Pouille and 16 for Kudla) while playing effectively off their serves, Kudla faced just two break points over the three sets, perhaps making the difference. Pouille faced an early break point in set 1 he saved, but he couldn’t do so again at 5-5, Kudla broke and served out the set. Set 2 was all about the serve, there were no breaks and it went to a tiebreak where Pouille forced a third set on his third set point. In set 3 Kudla had a match point and was also up a break, but a tiebreak ensued that Kudla took on his 5th match point of the match, avoiding a heartbreaking defeat.
Kudla will face Andrey Rublev in the quarters. Rublev pulled double duty easing past Tommy Paul 7-6 6-4, and Noah Rubin 6-3 6-2 after Rubin upset Atlanta champion 6-4 7-6 in the one of the biggest wins of his career. Isner now gets a much needed rest, while Rublev will be a slight favorite against Kudla to reach the semis.
Bencic and Putinseva Into WTA Quarterfinals
On the WTA side Belinda Bencic got a walkover against Hibino, she’s joined in the quarterfinals by Putinseva who defeated Jennifer Brady in straights, Zheng who defeated Bonaventure in striaghts, and Donna Vekic who edged Stollar 6-2 3-6 7-6 and 15-13 in the third set tiebreak.
Allie Kiick got past Kate Boulter 6-4 5-7 6-1, recovering from a poor second set she will face Zheng next. Linette defeated Osaka in an upset in three sets to draw Vekic, and Putinseva will face Svetlana Kuznetsova after the Russian veteran defeated Bogdan in straights. Bencic faces another veteran, Andrea Petkovic.