US Open 2020: Murray rallies from two sets down to complete epic comeback

By Sports Desk September 01, 2020

Andy Murray completed an astonishing comeback as the former world number one moved into the second round of the US Open with a remarkable five-set victory over Yoshihito Nishioka.

Playing his first singles grand slam match since the 2019 Australian Open due to hip surgery and the coronavirus pandemic, Murray looked to be down and out when Nishioka raced into a two-set lead on Tuesday.

Yet three-time slam champion Murray rallied to a stunning 4-6 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 triumph behind closed doors at Flushing Meadows in New York.

Two tie-breaks went Murray's way in sets three and four, and a four-hour 39-minute epic was settled when a trademark lob from the Scot forced Nishioka into an overhit return.

"I'm tired. My toes are the worst part I think, the big toes are pretty beat up, but I did alright," Murray – who will face Felix Auger-Aliassime or Thiago Monteiro in round two – said afterwards.

"At the beginning of the match I was apprehensive about playing a long match, I was kind of pacing myself. I felt a bit like that at the start, but once I was two sets down I had to start putting the afterburners on.

"They have [one ice bath] in the locker room, but they say it's for emergencies. It's an emergency for me right now! I'll ask if I can use that now, but if not I'll have to get back to the hotel quickly and recover because that's by far the most tennis I've played since the 2019 Australia Open."

After a composed start from both players, it was Nishioka who forced the first break to take a 4-3 lead, and the 24-year-old claimed the set at the second attempt three games later.

Japan's Nishioka hardly looked back and had the second set tied up in 53 minutes to put himself in complete control against the 2012 US Open winner.

Murray's fight seemed to have drained when he conceded serve in game one of the next set – Nishioka moving into a 3-1 lead.

Yet the 33-year-old Murray, who underwent hip resurfacing surgery last year, found a second wind, and a break brought him level at 3-3.

Nishioka squandered four break points as a tie-break was required, and Murray made his opponent pay – the former hitting a stray backhand into the net.

Both players held serve in a tense fourth set, but Nishioka had the win within his grasp when he won five successive points at 6-5.

But Murray once more rallied, forcing a long return from Nishioka before two successive points teed up another tie-break.

Murray raced ahead and though an issue with his right foot threatened to derail his display, the eight-time slam runner-up fought through the pain to take the set.

Nishioka clinched the initiative with the first break of the decider courtesy of a double fault, only for Murray to respond immediately with an exquisitely lofted backhand.

A misjudged lob from Nishioka moved Murray to within a game of an incredible triumph – one which was sealed by another delicate lob.

Related items

  • Tiley confident Australian Open plans close to being finalised amid cancellation reports Tiley confident Australian Open plans close to being finalised amid cancellation reports

    Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley is confident plans for next year's event will be finalised "very soon".

    Uncertainty remains over the scheduled first grand slam of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The start of the Australian Open looks set to be pushed back by a week or two, having originally been scheduled to begin on January 18, amid questions about the players' travel and preparation.

    In a statement, Tiley said details were close to being finalised, with reports on Tuesday having said the event could be cancelled.

    "Tennis Australia continues to work closely and productively with the Victorian government and we are confident we will be in a position to finalise details for the Australian Open 2021 very soon," he said.

    "We are also in constant communication with the global tennis community, including the Tours, the players and their teams, as we consult with them on plans for the event and how players can safely practise and prepare for a grand slam tournament under the Victorian government's proposed quarantine conditions.

    "Understandably there has been public speculation on the various plans under consideration as well as the many confidential conversations that have taken place and our position remains clear – everything will require approval and agreement from the Victorian government before it can be confirmed.

    "The protection and safety of the community remains paramount in the discussions.

    "Our team continues to work on delivering a fantastic – and safe – AO 2021 for the players, the fans, our partners and our staff. We look forward to announcing more details, including when tickets will go on sale, very soon."

    Victoria has been without a new coronavirus case since October 30.

    The Australian Open has started in January in every year since 1987, but Victorian minister for tourism, sport and major events Martin Pakula said last week next year's tournament was likely to be delayed by a week or two.

  • Del Potro admits to struggles in return bid, eyes Olympics Del Potro admits to struggles in return bid, eyes Olympics

    Juan Martin del Potro admitted he was struggling in his bid to return from knee surgery as he eyes next year's Olympics.

    Del Potro, 32, last played competitively 17 months ago and underwent a third right knee surgery in August.

    The 2009 US Open champion is still hoping to return, but admitted it had been challenging.

    "I am having a hard time coming back. I still stand by the desire that I have to continue playing," Del Potro told ESPN on Friday.

    "The reality is that it is difficult. I'm going to keep fighting as long as I feel like I want to continue."

    He added: "Due to the pandemic, the Olympics Games are next year and I'm excited to be there.

    "If I have to close my career, I think it would be to give myself an award to represent my country."

    A bronze medallist in men's singles at the 2012 Olympics, Del Potro won silver in Rio four years later, and said he hoped to retire on the court.

    The Argentinian also took time to remember the great Diego Maradona, who died on Wednesday.

    Del Potro recalled his meetings with Maradona during the 2016 Davis Cup final, which he helped Argentina win against Croatia in Zagreb.

    "In that Davis Cup final, every night, on my own without anyone knowing, I saw him 10, 15 minutes before going to sleep," he said.

    "He did it in private so that he doesn't disarm the team's structure."

    Del Potro added: "He sent me a very nice message after winning and I gave him my racquet."

  • Australian Open likely to be delayed, but only by a week or two Australian Open likely to be delayed, but only by a week or two

    The 2021 Australian Open is likely to be pushed back, but only for a week or two.

    Uncertainty has surrounded the scheduled first grand slam of next year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Reports had suggested the Australian Open could start in March or April, instead of its scheduled January 18 beginning.

    But Victorian minister for tourism, sport and major events Martin Pakula said on Wednesday a delay of a week or two was looking likely.

    "I think that's most likely, but it's not the only option," he told reporters, via the ABC.

    This year's Wimbledon was cancelled and the US Open was played behind closed doors, while the French Open was delayed before allowing a limited number of spectators.

    Victoria on Wednesday recorded its 26th consecutive day without a new coronavirus case.

    Pakula confirmed players would be tested and contained in a bubble during the Australian Open.

    "It's fair to say that Tennis Australia and the playing group have been encouraged to keep the total number of people coming in, not necessarily to a minimum, but to a lower number than would otherwise be the case," he said.

    "People need to bear in mind that there will be an extremely rigorous testing regime that will apply to the tennis players both before they leave the port that they're coming from and when they arrive, and I would imagine consistently during the time that they're in their bubble."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.