Wimbledon: Murray out as ruthless Shapovalov ends third title dream

By Sports Desk July 02, 2021

Andy Murray's Wimbledon adventure is over – for this year at least – after Denis Shapovalov put an end to his challenge in a one-sided Centre Court clash.

The doughty two-time former champion insists retirement is not at the forefront of his mind, but a 6-4 6-2 6-2 loss to 10th seed Shapovalov was a fresh reminder of his current place in the tennis pecking order.

After hip resurfacing surgery gave Murray another shot at the career that at one stage looked all but over, it was a Wimbledon return which was high on his list of priorities.

This was Murray's first appearance in the singles since 2017, the year he was last defending champion.

Earlier this year the former world number one spoke of a belief that he could win the tournament for a third time, but he will be 35 by the time next year's championships come around and many have doubts about whether he will still be playing. He came into this fortnight at 118th in the rankings.

Not even the closure of the Centre Court roof could save Murray this time. That had been the spur, coincidentally or not, for his two previous late-night matches to swing around in the Scot's favour, as he saw off Nikoloz Basilashvili and then the unheralded German Oscar Otte to reach this last-32 stage.

Murray and Shapovalov went off after the second set of this contest, as evening turned to night in south-west London and the lights came on, but Murray did not return with super-human strengths this time, and his opponent raced to victory.

Shapovalov told Murray at the net that the Scot was his hero, and spoke eloquently about his appreciation of his comeback, and perhaps Murray would have quietly admired the Canadian's skill in moving in for the kill.

 

This match had been all one way for much of the first set too, but then Murray found a spark and pulled back from 5-1 adrift to 5-4, the crowd beginning to believe it could be his day again.

Murray believed too, of course, but this match proved a step too far for the champion of 2013 and 2016. There were flickers of Murray at his best, and he will represent Great Britain at the upcoming Olympics, where he is a two-time defending champion, but Murray's days of being a grand slam contender are, on the balance of probabilities, pretty much over.

His career has been a spectacular affair, and there was a familiar ovation as he departed Centre Court.

Shapovalov had rammed down an ace on match point, clinical in his despatching of the crowd's favourite.

Speaking at the end of the match, Shapovalov said in an on-court interview: "This is a dream come true for me.

"I've put countless years of hard work into every practice so that one day maybe I could play on Centre Court – to play against a legend like Andy today, to play a match like this. First of all, huge shout-outs to him. What he is doing nobody has ever done. He's truly an inspiration to many people, including me.

"I just told him at the net that he's my hero. Achievements aside, what he's been able to do in the sport with an injury like this and to play the tennis he's playing and moving the way he's moving.

"In his second match it was like vintage Andy and it was just so much fun to see as a fan. I was really excited and the first set today was super, super intense.

"It's incredible what he's done to make it to the third round like this and he's just starting back up so it's going to be amazing to see what he can do."

Related items

  • Hubert Hurkacz advances to Canadian Open final after top-10 showdown against Casper Ruud Hubert Hurkacz advances to Canadian Open final after top-10 showdown against Casper Ruud

    Hubert Hurkacz will contest the second ATP 1000 final of his career after coming from a set behind to defeat world number five Casper Ruud 5-7 6-3 6-2 in the semi-final of the Canadian Open on Saturday.

    It was an interesting clash of styles going into the contest, with Hurkacz expected to rely on his dominant serve, while Ruud is one of the game's top returners, so when Ruud responded to an early break and was the one serving up a storm, it spelled trouble for the world number 10.

    Ruud landed 78 per cent of his first serves in the opening set, compared to 60 per cent for Hurkacz, and the Norwegian won 95 per cent of those points (20-of-21) to allow just one break point in the frame while creating four for himself.

    As Ruud's serve began to falter – with his first serve accuracy and effectiveness both cratering in the second and third set – his game began to struggle to hold up to the metronomic consistency of Hurkacz, who won the ace count 18-to-eight.

    After pulling the match even at one set each, Hurkacz took the contest by the scruff of the neck and won the first four games of the deciding frame to pull away.

    Poland's Hurkacz – who won his only previous ATP 1000 final against Jannik Sinner at the 2021 Miami Open – will now face Pablo Carreno-Busta in the decider after the Spaniard prevailed in a three-hour war of attrition against Daniel Evans 7-5 6-7 (7-9) 6-2.

    In a match that was close in every area, Carreno-Busta was slightly better, winning 68 per cent (68-of-100) of his service points compared to 60 per cent (66-of-110) for Evans, while committing just one double fault compared to the Englishman's six.

    It will be Carreno-Busta's first ATP 1000 final appearance, with the 2021 Hamburg Open – an ATP 500 event – the only career title for the 31-year-old above the ATP 250 level.

  • Simona Halep and Beatriz Haddad Maia book their places in Canadian Open decider Simona Halep and Beatriz Haddad Maia book their places in Canadian Open decider

    Simona Halep came from a set behind to defeat seventh seed Jessica Pegula 2-6 6-3 6-4 in the semi-final of the Canadian Open on Saturday, booking her place in the final against Beatriz Haddad Maia.

    Romania's Halep, the 15th seed, struggled to return Pegula's serve in the opening set, winning just 32 per cent (nine-of-28) of her return points while compounding her early issues with four double faults.

    Whether Pegula began to run out of steam, or Halep figured something out, she had significantly more success against the American's serve the rest of the way, winning 55 per cent (12-of-22) of her return points in the second set, and 57 per cent (20-of-35) in the decider.

    Halep has now won 11 of her past 13 matches, and Pegula is her third consecutive win against a top-25 opponent after defeating both world number 21 Jil Teichmann and world number 13 Coco Gauff in straight sets. 

    While this will be Halep's 18th career WTA 1000 final, it will be Haddad Maia's first, after she emerged triumphant 6-4 7-6 (9-7) against 14th seed Karolina Pliskova.

    She did not have a serving advantage against Pliskova, who won the ace count nine-to-one, but she was gritty, saving four of the six break points she faced, and refused to concede the second set after dropping the first three games.

    Haddad Maia – the only Brazilian ranked inside the top-100 – has now beaten five consecutive top-25 opponents on her way to the final, including world number one Iga Swiatek, Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic and Canadian hometown hero Leylah Fernandez.

  • Halep's 'fire back' as she topples Gauff to reach Canadian Open semi-finals, Haddad Maia extends run Halep's 'fire back' as she topples Gauff to reach Canadian Open semi-finals, Haddad Maia extends run

    Two-time major winner Simona Halep continues to find form ahead of the upcoming US Open with a 6-4 7-6 (7-2) victory over Coco Gauff clinching her spot in the Canadian Open semi-finals.

    Halep defeated 10th seed Gauff, who had beaten Naomi Osaka, Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka this week, in one hour and 47 minutes.

    The Romanian 15th seed was broken five times and sent down eight double faults, but found the edge with speed, finesse and power.

    The win means Halep has won the third most matches (36-10) on the WTA Tour this season, behind only top-ranked Iga Swiatek (49) and Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeir (37).

    Halep's improved form comes after she teamed up with Serena Williams' ex-coach Patrick Mouratoglou in April following a difficult 2021 season.

    "Before I met him I was super down with my motivation," Halep told reporters. "I couldn't really work, keep working. I was almost done with tennis. He brought this fire back and the motivation. He trusted that I still can play good tennis and he transferred this to me."

    The 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon champion added: "Physically I'm good. Mentally I'm good, so I think it's all positive."

    Halep, who won the Canadian Open in 2018, has reached the semi-finals for the fifth time in her career where she will take on seventh seed Jessica Pegula.

    Pegula got past Yulia Putintseva 6-3 6-3 in one hour and 21 minutes. Qualifying for the last four at the Canadian Open for the second straight year.

    Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia maintained her Canadian Open run, having ousted Swiatek in the third round and local favourite Leylah Fernandez in the second, with a 2-6 6-3 6-3 victory over Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Belinda Bencic in two hours and 11 minutes.

    Haddad Maia became the first Brazilian to reach the semi-finals of a WTA 1000 tournament. She will face Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals after the Czech 14th seed beat Qinwen Zheng 4-6 6-4 6-4.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.