Heartbreak for Andy Murray in Australia as the ex-Wimbledon champion’s first ATP Tour final since 2019 ends in a straight sets defeat by Aslan Karatsev after the Russian top seed produced a masterclass to win 6-3, 6-3 in Sydney
- Andy Murray was beaten by Aslan Karatsev in the final of the Sydney Classic
- The Brit lost 6-3, 6-3 after having no answer to the masterful Russian
- He had beaten Reilly Opelka to reach his first ATP Tour final since 2019
- But he looked jaded on Saturday and was simply outclassed by Karatsev
- Latest Tennis news, including live action and results
Andy Murray suffered an agonising defeat in his first ATP tour final for two years on Saturday as he was outclassed by the masterful Aslan Karatsev in straight sets at the Sydney Open Classic.
Murray was on a high after beating American Reily Opelka in the semi-finals but looked to have run out of steam – with Karatsev taking him apart in two sets, outmuscling him with blistering power.
The top seed thumped winners from all parts of the court and wrapped up a 6-3 6-3 victory for his third title on the ATP Tour.
Andy Murray was beaten 6-3, 6-3 by Aslan Karatsev in the final of the Sydney Open Classic
Karatsev picked Murray apart with some beautiful shots and brilliant accuracy on Saturday
The Brit gave everything and fought hard to stay in the contest but looked somewhat jaded
It was a disappointing day for the ex-world No 1 but he can take positives in to the Aussie Open
It was Murray’s first final since October 2019 – when he beat Stanislas Wawrinka in the European Open in Antwerp, but he couldn’t pull off another stunning win as he continues his search for his old form following hip surgery.
Karatsev was one of the most surprising grand slam semi-finalists in history when he reached the last four in Melbourne 12 months ago as an unheralded qualifier.
But the 28-year-old, who had previously spent his whole career on the lower rungs of the tennis circuit, has proved since that he belongs at the sport’s top table, breaking into the top 20 and winning titles in Dubai and Moscow last year.
He defeated Dan Evans in the semi-finals in Sydney to prevent a first ever all-British ATP Tour final and broke the Murray serve in the first game.
Karatsev had beaten Dan Evans in three sets and showed he belongs at the top of the table
Murray’s service game was a mixed bag – producing some aces but a handful of double faults
He missed a golden chance to break Karatsev in the fifth game of the second set
Karatsev was able to work the angles brilliantly with an impressive serve and volley display
The Scot paid for a low first-serve percentage in the opening set but Karatsev was superb, claiming half his points with winners and making only four unforced errors.
The second set began much like the first as the 28-year-old Karatsev broke early to seize the advantage, consistently hurting Murray with a barrage of powerful winners from the back of the court.
Murray showed glimpses of his old self in the fifth game that lasted nearly 13 minutes as the Briton battled valiantly to get a break back, but Karatsev weathered the storm and held on.
Murray still has to wait to break into the world’s top 100 ahead of a rematch against Nikoloz Basilashvili at the Australian Open
It was a huge missed opportunity for Murray – who had a double break point before being pushed back to deuce, and he missed several other opportunities to break his opponent – who won the game with his first advantage.
And the Russian eventually took the match in one hour 32 minutes to claim his third career title.
Defeat means the 34-year-old must also wait to make it back into the top 100 but he can head to Melbourne with confidence for the Australian Open and a rematch with Nikoloz Basilashvili – who he beat in the second round this week – on Tuesday.
Relive all the drama and action from the Sydney final with our live blog from Sportsmail’s OLI GAMP.
Thanks for joining me today and hope you enjoyed that match! It was certainly entertaining, even if it was a brutal watch from a Murray point of view.
We now look ahead to the Australian Open next week – until next time.
Firstly I’d like to congratulate Aslan, a fantastic week. I know he arrived here late in Australia after Covid, impressive to come back and play at that level. All the best for the Aussie Open.
I’d like to thank my team for all their help this year. First time in a final for three years – it’s been a long road but I couldn’t have done it without all your help. I’d Also like to thank my family back home, I miss you all. I’d also like to say thank you to those putting on the event, you did a fantastic event, it’s not easy in these times – I really enjoyed it.
Finally to all of you who came out to support tonight, what an amazing atmosphere to play in, it was so good! I’ve really missed playing in front of these crowds, unfortunately the result didnt go my way but I’ll do my best to come back and play in these sorts of matches.
Well that was a really great match, a lot of drama and some excellent shots on display – but he simply didn’t have an answer for his Russian opponent.
Karatsev was so accurate with his shots and got so much power behind them. His serving helped him set the tempo and Murray was always on the backfoot. We’re going to hear from both players shortly, but congratulations must go to Karatsev for a masterful performance here in Sydney to win it.
GAME, SET AND MATCH KARATSEV
Murray is going for this and he attacks Karatsev to force him into a mistake for 0-15 – and does brilliantly to save a high volley going all the way out. The ensuing rally ends with Karatsev rolling the ball past him on his backhand. He couldn’t do anything more. 15-15.
Murray’s return goes straight out from a second serve, and the next one has Murray stretching and he can’t reach it. It’s TWO championship points… but he double faults the chance to win it! One more opportunity… And Murray’s volleyed return just hits the line! Deuce! Amazing effort from Murray.
Great rally sees Karatsev come out on top for yet another championship point, and the next one Murray slices out. It’s over.
Murray needs a big serving game here and his first one is sliced straight out by Karatsev. He’s too late to send back the Russian’s shot on his backhand, but then his opponent fires past the baseline for 30-15.
And Karatsev is struggling a bit here as his forehand gets way too much bend on it and isn’t troubling Murray, who then strikes the net – 40-30. And Karatsev mishits his return and it’s out. Murray is still standing.
Karatsev now serving for the championship.
Karatsev looking to wrap this up now. He finishes off two simple forehand winners for 30-0.
Murray does well to keep in this with some excellent slices – but it’s just too much for him as Karatsev beats him at that same exact corner. The precision here is surgeon-esque. And he polishes off a flawless game with another winner. The end is in sight.
Nonchalant backhand drop shot from Karatsev gives Murray no chance, then Murray aces for 15-15. Karatsev just looks to scoop up hit serve on his backhand but it goes out.
A wicked forehand has Murray sprawling and can’t quite lob it high enough to clear the net. There’s a chuckle from the Brit now – but he gets to 40-30 as Karatsev finds the net… and then his next return is skewed well out.
You wonder how Murray is ever going to break this guy’s serve. And he gets a glimmer of hope after a forehand slice is sent back to the tramlines. But then a real power serve has Andy scrambling – sending it up into the sky. Karatsev smashes it back at him – Murray somehow claws it back, but then the Russian rolls it into the corner.
But now Karatsev backhands into the net! 15-30. And then blasts out! Two break points for Murray as he screams: ‘Let’s go!’
He has no chance with the next one as Karatsev sends him the wrong way after a rally. Murray pushes forward now and tries to get some power behind his shots – agonisingly he smacks the ball into the top of the net. Deuce. He had an advantage after Karatsev hit the net, but then he’s forced into the baseline and can’t find an answer to his deep shots.
Another return goes well out for Murray, but then a brilliant rally sees him claw back some tough angled shots with a backhand winner. Karatsev’s next shot looks tight and it’s out for a fourth break point! Neither of these two can end this game as Murray fluffs it, then a chance to win it on break point number five goes amiss too.
First advantage for Karatsev after Murray strikes the net… and he converts on the first ask. Really tough to take for Murray that. A game lasting 13 minutes.
A chance for Murray to bite back now. Karatsev swiping his return against the net is a good start. But he just has no answer to him after a ridiculously well-placed forehand winner to Andy’s left. ‘You need a joystick to hit this shot’ says the commentator.
Murray aces to get back to 30-15 – then Karatsev’s attempted drop shot can’t make it over the net. A good rally ends with Murray striking the net for 40-30 – then an ace into the top left corner! The Brit keeps fighting.
Karatsev is playing beautifully. He really is. He exchanges a few backhand slices with Murray before dinking one perfectly to Murray’s left past the net – then aces for 40-0.
Not much Andy can do about this to be honest. And he looks for the corner to catch out the Russian but it’s just past the baseline. This set could be over quick time.
He’s losing momentum – is it tiredness after yesterday’s match against Opelka?
MURRAY BROKEN AGAIN
Murray gets caught wrong-footed as he goes back and forth between each side of the court – Karatsev’s forehand eventually catching him out as he goes the other way.
But he makes no mistake with his next opportunity as Karatsev slices to mid-court, handing Murray the simple task of executing his dry volley. He then strikes the net before his cross-court shot goes astray. Two break points for the Russian.
The crowd cheer his name as Karatsev’s return goes straight out… and then his next serve proves too much for him too! He’s saved both break points and it’s deuce! Karatsev comes out on top in their next duel – beautiful backhand winner. Murray looks to his coaching team looking for answers, then a forehand goes out and he’s broken.
Chance to reset for Murray after an inconsistent display in that first set.
But these well-placed shots are still catching him out as Karatsev sends him to the left for a backhand then fires home the forehand winner. Murray bounces back with an inside out forehand that Karatsev can’t get to.
The Brit’s next shot is out after another tricky serve to deal with – with the next one sent it forcing Murray to swipe his shot into the next. 40-15. Karatsev sends Murray running again and he’s battling for his life to keep these shots in – and the Russian eventually smashes home the volley.
BREAK! KARATSEV WINS THE FIRST SET!
Karatsev getting so much joy on the forehand – as he beats him from his second serve – then moon balls his next shot out. 0-30.
Murray gets a reprieve as his opponent’s return rolls into the net – then aces to bring it back level. And then a double fault again to hand Karatsev a set point! Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
A double fault AGAIN gifts it to him! Quite incredible.
Karatsev quickly moves to 30-0 after a winner and then an ace. His serve is really causing problems for Murray, who needs to come up with a solution is he is to rescue this set.
The Russian then fires home a forehand winner for 40-0 as Murray looks on with dejection. A little back and forth ends with yet another winner on the forehand. That was a little too easy.
Murray showing great spirit with a nice forehand cross-court shot that catches out Karatsev, who later fires a forehand right to the edge of the tramline that just goes out.
The Russian gets a point back before Murray aces again for 40-15… and his next serve forces him to fire well out. Staying in this one still!
A famous ‘come on’ from Murray as Karatsev’s first shot goes wayward, then having to work very hard indeed as Karatsev pings several shots into the corners – the final one being too much for him despite a handful of impressive slice returns – then antother forehand beats him at the corner for 30-15.
Karatsev then goes for his forehand with power, with Murray hitting the net. Then a superb serve and volley sees him wrap it up.
Karatsev is testing Murray’s back hand then pressing forward on the volley – Murray gets past him and curls a forehand down his left.
He follows up with an ace for 30-0 – then balloons a shot out after a let, then second serve. But then he comes up with ANOTHER ace for 40-15.
And then a double fault! 40-30… and then next one is place brilliantly into the corner, then fired back to the opposite corner for game!
Tell you what, if Murray can get a bit more consistent with his service game, he has every chance of winning this.
Murray looking to work the angles but a backhand eventually goes out following a good exchange, then it’s Karatsev’s turn to fire wide from a similar position.
Karatsev quickly moves to 40-15 after a winner and then unstoppable ace – then game as his monster serve goes right in the corner and Murray has no answer to it. Just as good as an ace.
Karatsev looks like he has Murray on toast after forcing him to send back a lob that the Russian just has to poke over the net – but he skews it into his own court.
He then fires a forehand wide, and Murray follows up with a brilliant ace for 40-0.
Murray’s next serve is nearly as good and Karatsev’s return clips the top of the net before going out. Back in it!
Quickly firing his way to 30-0, Karatsev, after two powerful forehand winners – his strong serve is really testing Murray and forcing him out wide.
Murray’s returning being tested here as his next shot goes out past the baseline for 40-0, and then clips the net and it’s 2-0 in the blink of an eye. Work to do here.
MURRAY BROKEN EARLY!
Karatsev plays a beautiful drop shot right in front of the net to the right of the court to send Murray charging forwards – but he can’t quite get a clean connection on it – quick 0-15 for the Russian – then double faults for 0-30. Not the best start.
Karatsev hits a backhand straight down the tramlines to give him hope but then hits a brilliant shot down the line for two break points. Another shot from the Russian clips the back of the baseline and just over the line before a forehand goes wayward to take it to deuce.
Murray’s first serve isn’t quite happening as he relies on his second serve again and Karatsev hits a sweet forehand right in the corner for advantage. Then after some back and forth shots he forces him into a awkward position – scooping a shot into the air before it bobbles into the net and Karatsev breaks.
Umpire gives the players a 30 second warning before we get play going.
He’s won the coin toss and elects to serve, as both players start warming up
Murray on his way out into the arena first up, followed by his Russian opponent Karatsev.
She’s beaten Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 in a thrilling finish to emerge victorious – great match that, and we should have Murray and Karatsev coming up any minute now.
Remember, you can watch this match free of charge on the BBC website, app or iPlayer.
Perfect chance for tennis lovers to rekindle their love of watching Andy Murray play. Coverage hasn’t kicked off yet but it’s coming up very soon.
You have to go back to October 2019 for the last time Murray was in an ATP Tour final, where he beat Stanislas Wawrinka at the European Open in Antwerp.
He won 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, his first tiitle since undergoing his career-changing hip surgery at the beginning of that year.
In other news as we wait for the big match, Australian John Peers and Slovakia’s Filip Polasek have won the men’s doubles in Sydney after beating Italians Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini.
The women’s final between Barbora Krejcikova and Paula Badosa is still ongoing and in the deciding set, so Murray and Karatsev will be on in a short while.
We had been licking our lips in anticipation of an all-British final, with Dan Evans having the chance to set up an incredible clash against Murray – but fell to a 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 defeat against Russian Karatsev.
It wasn’t without controversy either, with the British man letting rip at the umpire and officials in Sydney after Karatsev took a five-minute bathroom break.
He said they were a ‘f***ing embarrassment to the sport’ in a furious tirade as Karatsev kept his composure and made it through to face Murray.
After going a set down against the American – following a nail-biting tie-breaker – the 34-year-old battled hard to win the next two sets 6-4, 6-4 after some consistent serving and even better returning to set up a final with Karatsev.
Are you ready for an Andy Murray final? We haven’t had too many recently but the three-time Grand Slam winner is in his first showpiece on the ATP Tour since 2019 after beating Reilly Opelka in three sets at the Sydney Tennis Classic. Aslan Karatsev is now all that stands in his way of a first accolade for three years.
After Murray had major hip surgery at the start of January, his career looked to be over – before making a stunning comeback, and while he hasn’t hit the previous heights of when he was British No 1 and formerly world No 1, it’s great to see him back with a chance of winning a tournament.
All the action here is due to get underway at around 8am GMT.
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