Andy Murray made to pay for spurning seven match points at Paris Masters

The Briton was beaten in the first round by German lucky loser Dominik Koepfer

Pa Sport Staff
Monday 01 November 2021 22:08
<p>Andy Murray shakes hands at the net after losing to Dominik Koepfer</p>

Andy Murray shakes hands at the net after losing to Dominik Koepfer

Andy Murray spurned a remarkable seven match points as he crashed out in the first round of the Rolex Paris Masters to German lucky loser Dominik Koepfer.

The Scot had looked set to rally from the brink of defeat after defying Koepfer when the German served for the match at 5-4 in the second set.

But having reeled off two successive breaks of serve to force a decider, Murray missed his first two match points on the Koepfer serve at 5-4, before blowing five more in an 18-minute tie-break to fall 6-4 5-7 7-6 (9).

It capped an amazing shift in fortunes for Koepfer, who had been thumped 6-3 6-0 by Miomar Kecmanovic in the final round of qualifying only to earn a second chance following the withdrawal of Murray’s original opponent, Jenson Brooksby.

Koepfer looked set to take full advantage as Murray started in listless fashion, falling a double-break down before dropping the first set, then losing his serve again in the first game of the second.

But when Koepfer failed to serve out for the match it seemed the momentum had swung back towards Murray, who looked determined to advance at a tournament where his victory in 2016 sealed his rise to world number one.

Andy Murray rued his missed opportunities against Dominik Koepfer (Seth Wenig/PA)

If his current ambitions are more modest, Murray looked as hungry as ever as he saved three break points to hold for 4-3 before fashioning his first of many match-winning opportunities at 5-4.

This time it was Koepfer who rallied, forcing a final set tie-break in which he saved five more match point chances for Murray, the best of which with a flashing cross-court backhand to drag the breaker back level at 6-6.

In stark contrast to Murray, Koepfer would need just one chance to seal victory, a long forehand from Murray bringing an end to the drama and sending the exasperated Scot out of the tournament.

Earlier, Cameron Norrie kept alive his hopes of qualifying for the ATP Finals with a dominant victory over Federico Delbonis.

The British number one suffered a painful loss to Felix Auger-Aliassime in Vienna last week having held match points but began strongly in the French capital, winning nine games in a row in a 6-2 6-1 victory over Argentinian Delbonis.

It was Norrie’s 100th tour-level win, 49 of which have come this year.

The 26-year-old told Amazon Prime Video: “I know the score looked fairly comfortable but there were a lot of tough games in there. I felt I played a pretty complete match and really enjoyed my tennis again. It was far from easy but I was happy with my performance.”

Norrie sits 11th in the race to qualify for the eight-man season-ending tournament in Turin and needs to make up 140 points on Italian Jannik Sinner over the next two weeks.

“It’s pretty cool just to be in the race for that and to be playing these matches with a little added pressure and a little added motivation,” said Norrie, who hit another career-high ranking of 13th on Monday.

“You’re kind of watching what everyone else is doing and I think it’s pretty interesting and it’s exactly where I want to be and the matches I want to be playing.”

In the second round he will face either American Reilly Opelka or Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic.

But compatriot Dan Evans failed to join Norrie in the second round as he fell to a 2-6 7-5 7-5 defeat to Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik.

Evans dominated the opening set but allowed his opponent to level the match with a crucial break in the second to set up a tight decider.

Bublik broke the Briton at 4-4 but was broken back when he served for the match, with Evans saving a match point and converting his fourth break point.

Just when the momentum seemed to have shifted back in Evans’ direction, he was promptly broken again and Bublik made no mistake second time around to seal his place in the next round.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in