Andy Murray wins epic duel against Frances Tiafoe in European Open first-round tie

Andy Murray says he's in the 'bad books' after losing ring

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Andy Murray recorded another top-50 win as he overcame Frances Tiafoe in an epic first-round meeting at the European Open in Antwerp. In a match that lasted more than three-and-a-half hours, Murray emerged victorious 7-6(2) (7)6-7 7-6(8).

Tiafoe is the fifth top-50 scalp Murray has taken in 2021, as the Briton continues to build momentum towards the back end of the season.

World no 14 Diego Schwartzmann awaits Murray in the second round after the second seed from Argentina was given a first-round bye. 

With Tiafoe serving for the set at 5-4, the pair exchanged three consecutive breaks to take the opener to a tie-break, which Murray comfortably won 7-2.

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Murray’s previous wins against players ranked inside the world’s top 50 this year came against Benoit Paire at Queen’s, Nikoloz Basilashvili at Wimbledon, Ugo Humbert in Metz and Carlos Alcaraz in Indian Wells.

Murray lost to Tiafoe at Winston-Salem in August and the 23-year-old American’s power off the ground, particularly off the forehand wing, asked questions of Murray, and he clinched the second set on a tie-break, getting the job done at the sixth set point of asking. 

Indian Wells played host to a lengthy battle between Murray and Alcaraz last week but this match was almost 40 minutes longer, and a third tie-break in the match was won by Murray.

Murray’s match against Schwartzmann will take place on Thursday. Looking at the Scot’s schedule beyond this week, Murray plans to play at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna next week, but does not expect to feature for Great Britain at the remodeled Davis Cup at the close of the season.

“I’ve given a lot to the Davis Cup, and sometimes to my own detriment physically,” Murray said.

“The same thing happened last time I played Davis Cup at the end of 2019. I know there was coronavirus, but I was struggling with that really up until September time the following year.

“I also don’t feel right now I would be playing, either. Obviously that would be up to Leon (Smith, captain), but I’m not sure I deserve to play in that team.

“Cam [Norrie] and Dan [Evans] have had a great year, Liam Broady’s in and around the top 100 now and we’ve got very strong doubles as well.

“Right now, I’m not planning on playing the Davis Cup and with the late finish to it, and early departure to Australia, with my schedule between now and the end of the year, I am going to have to rest and take a break and give my body a chance to breathe.

“And I want to make sure in the off-season I get to spend as much time with my family as I can because I have been away from that recently and that will be case when I go to Australia as well.”

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