Andy Murray Fails to Break Into Top-100, Loses to Wimbledon Semifinalist Hubert Hurkacz at Cincinnati Open 2021

Published 08/18/2021, 1:34 PM EDT
Tennis – ATP 500 – Queen’s Club Championships – Queen’s Club, London, Britain – June 17, 2021 Britain’s Andy Murray reacts during his quarter-final match against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs


Britain’s Andy Murray continued his road to recovery at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. On a bright and sunny Wednesday afternoon, Murray took on giant killer Hubert Hurkacz. The Polish star was high on confidence after his recent performance at Wimbledon, and posed a great threat. It was always going to be a stiff ask for the former World No.1 to overcome the 9th seeded Hurkacz. And he failed the hurdle, falling 6-7 (4) 3-6 in an hour and three quarters.

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Both players trade blow for blow in opening exchanges

The match kicked off on a relatively slow-paced note. As both players looked to find their groove, deep ground strokes from the baseline seemed to be the way forward. The first four games went on serve, before the Polish star applied pressure on the Murray serve. In the fifth game, Hurkacz took advantage of the Brit’s lack of pace to earn himself three break points. Converting the second one, he went up 3-2 up a break.

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Aug 13, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Hubert Hurkacz of Poland plays a shot against Daniil Medvedev of Russia during the quarter finals of the National Bank Open at Aviva Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Under the sultry conditions, the younger player failed to capitalize on the break. As Murray does so often, he pulled out some clutch tennis to break right back and then go up 4-3. The Glasgow star’s first serve clicked at the right time, as he served 3 aces in a single game. Murray played the patient game by trying to make a rather scrappy Hurkacz call the shots. With the crowd riling him on, Murray’s basic counterattacking tennis took the first set into a tiebreak. However, a combination of the Brit playing it too safe and some brilliant serving from himself, saw Hurkacz claim the first set tiebreaker.

Andy Murray crumbles after putting up a fight

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The first set was always going to be more important for the 3-time Grand Slam champion. After conceding it in just under an hour, it was going to be an uphill battle for Andy. Playing out on Grandstand Court, neither of the two looked overly comfortable. The first set acted as a major confidence boost for the Pole, as he began to find more winners early in the second set. His wide placements on the first serve began paying off, more so when he began finding his rhythm on them.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Tennis – Men’s Doubles – Quarterfinal – Ariake Tennis Park – Tokyo, Japan – July 28, 2021. Andy Murray of Britain reacts during his men’s doubles quarterfinal match REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

As the second set progressed, there were more engaging rallies. The serve continued to be the pivotal factor, but more neutralizing was seen by both players. The first seven games were split with both Murray and Hurkacz holding serve. Courtesy a brilliant return game with some half blocks at 4-3, the 24-year-old earned himself the right to serve out the match. And he did so with aplomb, thanks to his 17 aces. The World No.13 claimed a straight sets win to enter the last 16.

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In spite of recouping exceptionally day by day, Andy Murray continues to face the big match blues. Can the US Open 2021 be his breakthrough? One thing is certain; he will need to be fit, fresh, and go all guns blazing if he is to turn things around!

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Sankalp Harikrishnan

235 articles

Sankalp Harikrishnan is a tennis and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He aspires to pursue Sports Journalism and has represented his institution in cricket, badminton, football, and table tennis. Apart from his professional desires, Sankalp does voluntary service with his friends to feed hungry animals on a regular basis.

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