Sir Andy Murray’s hopes of winning a first Australian Open title ended with a shock defeat by Mischa Zverev of Germany in the fourth round of the Melbourne event on Sunday.
Murray, who became favourite of the Men’s single title after defending champion Novak Djokovic was defeated during the week, dropped serve eight times as world number 50, Zverev, won 7-5 5-7 6-2 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena.
The World No. 1, after the match that lasted three hours and 33 minutes, said his shock defeat is tough to take but is full of praise for Mischa Zverev after the German beat him in four sets in the fourth round.
“He deserved to win because he played great when he was down, and also in the important moments,” said Murray.
“I was kind of behind in the last couple of sets the whole way but I have had tough losses in the past and I have come back from them.”
Murray had been hoping to go one better than five second place finishes in Melbourne. He was defeated in each five finals, first by Roger Federer and the other four times by Novak Djokovic. But the German ended the hope on Sunday.
It is the Briton’s earliest defeat in Melbourne since 2009, and the lowest-ranked player he has lost to at a Grand Slam since he lost to world number 51 Juan Ignacio Chela in 2006 Australian Open.
“It was kind of easy to stay aggressive but it was tough to stay calm,” said Zverev
“I was expecting to maybe double fault in the last game but somehow I made it.”
Zverev goes on to face Roger Federer in the quarter-finals.
Elsewhere, defending champion in the Women’s singles Angelique Kerber also suffered a fourth-round exit from the Australian Open to world number 35 Coco Vandeweghe.
Kerber, 29, claimed Grand Slam titles at Melbourne and the US Open last year, but lost 6-2 6-3 to Vandeweghe, 25.
“It was really special,” Coco said.
“Beating the world number one on any stage and any place is great. I’ll take this one.
“I wasn’t feeling confident – I guess I faked it. I was nervous, but I had a game plan to execute and I knew that as long as I kept picking my spots, I had a chance.”
Meanwhile, Venus Williams progressed to the quarter-finals, beating Germany’s Mona Barthel; while Roger Federer continued his remarkable return from injury by seeing off Kei Nishikori in five sets 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-1 4-6 6-3 to reach his 13th Australian Open quarter-final – as he sets his eyes on clinching his 18th Grand Slam title.
“It was a great match and a joy to be part of it,” said Federer.
“I wasn’t playing badly in the first set – it’s a quick court and things happen fast. It was about staying calm at 4-0.
“I thought it can’t get any worse from there. It was hard not to win that first set after all the effort but it paid off in the end. This is a huge win for me in my career.”
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