Andy Murray and Ash Barty pay tribute to each other
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Andy Murray tasted defeat after an epic first-round match at the Paris Masters. The Briton squandered seven match points as he lost the deciding set on a tie-break which lasted over 15 minutes.
Murray’s preparations for the match changed hours before he took to the court as his original opponent Jenson Brooksby pulled out.
Brooksby’s replacement was lucky loser Koepfer, who certainly made the most of his opportunity.
The German’s aggressive game unsettled Murray from the off, pushing him to uncomfortable positions on the court.
His early dominance paid off as Murray netted a backhand and Koepfer broke serve to go up 3-2.
He converted his opportunities to go up a double break, leaving Murray with a huge problem to solve.
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Trailing 2-5, the 34-year-old retrieved one of the breaks back and held serve to trail 4-5, but at the second time of asking, Koepfer held serve to close out the first set after Murray sent a forehand long.
The former world number one made the worst possible start to the second set, losing his serve and was soon 0-2 down.
He seemingly had no answer to his opponent’s aggression and precision, but was able to keep holding serve and forced Koepfer to serve for the match at 4-5.
Murrray dug deep and showed his champion qualities to break back before holding serve to lead the second set 6-5.
The momentum had shifted and the three-time major winner would make it count, as he broke Koepfer after he narrowly missed a forehand wide to clinch the second set and level the match.
The final set was a titanic battle as both players looked to find a key breakthrough.
At 3-3, it appeared as though Koepfer had found it as he carved out three break points, but Murray stood firm once again and rallied from 0-40 to hold serve.
Murray squandered match points at 5-4, and the pair would hold serve before engaging in a tense final set tie-break.
In total, Murray had seven match points, but he squandered each of them and Koepfer needed just one to secure progression into the second round.
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