Andy Murray saves five match points in remarkable win over Jiri Lehecka to reach Qatar Open final

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Andy Murray saved five match points on his way to yet another incredible win as he beat Jiri Lehecka to reach the Qatar Open final.

Playing in his first semi-final for eight months, Murray took the first set without dropping a game in the sort of comfortable fashion rarely seen in 2023. The more familiar resilience was soon required though, as Lehecka then levelled the match up and moved a break ahead in the decider.

Two match points on the Murray serve came and went, before Lehecka brought up three more at 40-0 on his own serve. The three-time Grand Slam winner saved those too though, broke back and held his nerve for a 6-0 3-6 7-6 win. He is now 6-0 in matches that have gone the distance this year.

Murray will face Daniil Medvedev in the final, as he looks to win his first ATP Tour title since the European Open in October 2019.

“That was one of the most amazing turnarounds I’ve had in my career,” Murray said after the match.

“I knew it was his first time serving for a final, so I had to make sure that I tried to keep the pressure on at the end. I know how difficult it is to serve matches like that out.

“I have no idea how I managed to turn that one around to be honest!”

Up against one of the most in-form young players on tour, Murray made a sensational start as he breezed through the opening set, 21-year-old Lehecka showing no real signs of the tennis that saw him beat Cameron Norrie and Auger-Aliassime on his way to the Australian Open quarter-finals last month.

He raced into a 3-0 lead in the second set though, before saving two break points to move him 5-2 up and a game away from levelling the set. Murray briefly delayed his progress, but Lehecka served the set out.

The pair exchanged breaks early in the decider, and Lehecka then broke to love to edge ahead. He forced Murray to serve to stay in the match at 5-3, and the Brit saved two match points on his way to doing just that.

Lehecka brought up three more and showed no indication of any nerves at 40-0 up, but this was a familiar position for Murray. Wins over Matteo Berrettini, in Melbourne, and Lorenzo Sonego, earlier this week in Doha, came after saving match points, and there is now a third entry to that list.

Murray broke back and, after failing to take his first match point in the tie-break, got the job done at the second time of asking as Lehecka pulled a volley wide.

It is the fifth time Murray will play in the Qatar Open final, winning in 2008 and 2009 to go with defeats in 2007 and 2017. He has not won a set in his previous two matches against Medvedev.