Andy Murray beats No1 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach Stuttgart Open semi-finals

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Andy Murray celebrates after winning a point against Stefanos Tsitsipas (AP)
Andy Murray celebrates after winning a point against Stefanos Tsitsipas (AP)

Andy Murray showed glimpses of his best tennis combined with some impressive resolve as he beat No1 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets at the Stuttgart Open.

Murray had to fight hard during a first set in which the Greek served immaculately, and the Scot edged the tie-break. The loss of the first set seemed to knock Tsitsipas off his stride and his first serve percentage fell away in the second, as Murray won the first break of the match with some sublime touches around the net to lead 5-2. Tsitsipas saved two match points on his own serve but couldn’t repeat the trick in the next game as Murray closed out the match with a powerful forehand down the line, winning 7-6 (4), 6-3.

Murray is enjoying some important preparation ahead of Wimbledon and here earned his first win over a top-five ranked player since 2016. His plan to skip the French Open seems to have been rewarded with a positive start to the grass court season, continuing his form on clay with semi-final appearances in Surbiton and now Stuttgart. He faces Nick Kyrgios in the final four on Saturday, with a potential final on Monday.

This was one of the best performances of the modern Murray, who may lack the manouvrability that made him the best returner in the world at his peak but still retains relentless fight and some moments of brilliance.

The 35-year-old’s range of subtle drop shots, accurate passes and deft volleys proved too much for Tsitsipas, who had looked the better player for most of the first set but never found the crucial breakthrough. Murray’s serve has been reliable over the past two weeks, a promising sign ahead of Wimbledon where it is more vital than at any other major, and it was key to keeping his opponent at bay.

“I thought I did well,” Murray said on court. “He served unbelievably well for the first set, I felt like I had very few opportunies when returning, but I stayed strong with my serve. Second set, his serve dropped off and once I was in the rallies I felt like I was controlling a lot of the points.”

After Stuttgart, Murray is set to play at Queen’s – a championship he has won five times – ahead of Wimbledon, which starts on 27 June.

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