October 13, 2021
Sascha Zverev completed his collection of victories against the Big Four but he was pushed all the way by the man he had never previously beaten.
The German had been able to boast wins against Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic.
Now he can add Andy Murray to that illustrious list.
The brave Brit had his chances. He led 3-0 in the first set after an explosive start. He also led 3-1 in the second and later forced a tie-break.
But Zverev stayed calm and dug deep to win the big points and resume control.
He won a thrilling duel at the net to close out 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), leaving Murray visibly frustrated.
Yet there were further encouraging signs from the two-time Wimbledon champion.
British legend Greg Rusedski said: ‘This is the best I’ve seen Murray since his comeback and now I’m becoming a believer.’
That means Rusedski has joined those who think the two-time Wimbledon champion could actually win a title again at this rate.
It’s wonderful news for everyone already looking forward to Wimbledon 2022.
Murray’s movement was extraordinary given that he has undergone resurfacing of that troublesome hip.
He was pretty much back to his best in that department.
Now he just needs more matches to improve his game management further still. That will undoubtedly come.
In the disappointment of defeat Murray was a little harsh on himself.
That perfectionist attitude will surely help him achieve his dreams once more come summer.
He claimed: ‘This is physically the best I’ve felt for a while but I’m sort of battling my game a little bit.
‘The consistency isn’t there. The decision-making is not great in the important moments still.’
When Murray served well he was blistering – and that usually happened towards the start of the two sets.
Yet there were double faults in some of the biggest games and so Andy’s self-analysis was ultimately valid.
Zverev looked beatable on the night and yet he rose to the challenge in the key exchanges.
And later he paid fitting tribute to Murray’s c
‘Obviously it was a fantastic match. I thought Andy played extremely well – maybe as well as he has played since the surgery.
‘I hope he continues playing the same way because tennis did miss him for a long time and I think it’s good to have him back.’
Wimbledon 2022 will be even more exciting for Murray’s improvement.
And Zverev is someone who has yet to do justice to himself at the All England Club.
The more mature he becomes, the better his chances of an epic triumph on grass.
He observed of his latest win: ‘I always stayed in the match, even though I was down a break in both sets. I always knew I had a chance.
‘The second set was an extremely high level from both of us. It could have gone both ways.’
You could say the same about a pulsating match between Shelby Rogers and Leylah Fernandez.
The Canadian teenager started strong to take the first set 6-2. But the American stormed back powerfully to boss the second 6-1.
At times you felt US Open finalist Fernandez was going to edge it.
But finally Rogers ruled 7-4 in the deciding breaker to spark wild celebrations in Indian Wells.
Would you like to see these great players at Wimbledon 2022?
It’s the greatest tournament of them all so don’t miss it!