It was a hard-fought battle, but Stefanos Tsitsipas was able to wipe his brow, breathe a sigh of relief, and look ahead to the second round after winning a US Open five-set epic against former champion Andy Murray.
After losing both the first and third sets, the Greek player was left with a mountain to climb but found his best form to win the final two sets with relative ease and set up a second-round match-up with Adrian Mannarino.
Defeating Murray was no easy feat, and the Scot was displaying the kind of form that makes you think he is still capable of competing for titles. In the end, Tsitsipas’ superior fitness levels paid dividends, but the 23-year-old showed a lot of grit and determination to dig in and get the job done. Now, he’ll be considered among the favorites in the US Open betting odds from Betfair.
In the past, Tsitsipas may have crumbled in those circumstances, with Murray pushing hard and putting him under immense pressure. One of the key moments came at the end of the second set. Murray had established two set points in the tiebreak and was looking good value for a two-set lead, but Tsitsipas dug in, survived the setpoints and ultimately triumphed to level the scores at one set all.
Although Murray went on to win the third set, it was vital that Tsitsipas established himself in the match and gained a foothold. Clinching that tiebreak was the platform needed to go on and win the match in the fourth and fifth sets after Murray had tired.
There was controversy after the fourth set when Tsitsipas took a toilet break that his opponent felt was too long. Murray was furious that the Greek player’s eight-minute absence from the court caused him to cool down slightly, and the Scot asserted that it affected his performance in the final set. However, Tsitsipas was quick to refute the claims that there was any malfeasance involved, claiming that he was well within his rights to take the break.
“I think it’s clear that I took my clothes with me when I left the court,” Tsitsipas explained. “That’s the amount of time it takes for me to change my clothes and to walk back to the court takes a little bit of time. If there’s something that he has to tell me, the two of us should speak to understand what went wrong. I don’t think I broke any rules. I don’t know how my opponent feels when I’m out there playing the match. It’s not really my priority.”
If there was a bit of gamesmanship involved, it had the desired effect. Murray looked tired and lacking in focus during the final set, and Tsitsipas was able to pick him off to seal the victory. It was a good early test for the number three seed, and he’ll be delighted to go through having lost in the first round of Wimbledon earlier this summer.
Having reached the final of the French Open back in May, Tsitsipas knows what it takes to get to the latter stages of a Grand Slam, but the win against Murray proves that he is willing to fight tooth-and-nail to go far at the US Open. He’s a very dangerous competitor, and according to the US Open betting tips, he will take some stopping.