Andy Murray suffered another crushing three set defeat, failing to convert a match point for the third match in a row. Previously, Murray had match points against both Milos Raonic and Novak Djokovic, falling short to two of the best players in the world. Murray again took centre stage as the only remaining player in the big four at the Paris Masters series after Djokovic’s shock loss to Sam Querrey. With a seemingly straightforward route to the final, it seemed destined to be Murray’s year to lift the trophy. 

Having not won a Masters series final for the first time this year since 2007, but having become the first British player in 76 years to win a grand slam, it seemed apt that this would be Murray’s year to win the final Masters Series event, leading up to the ATP World Tour Finals. However, a relatively unknown player, Jerzy Janowicz, stood in his way. It would be the first time since 2008 that none of the Big Four had made it to the last eight. The event presented the perfect opportunity for Murray to make significant ground upon the rankings of Federer and Djokovic.

A tight first set went with serve until the 11th game when Murray used his craft and guile to earn a break of serve, being the first man to break the Janowicz serve in the tournament. The Polish player, ranked 69th in the world, showed glimpsed of brilliance and conjured up a break point at 6-5 behind. However, the commentators criticised his ‘poor shot selection on the big points’. Murray went on to serve out the first set 7-5.

The second set started in a very similar fashion to the first, Murray and Janowicz both holding to love. Both men produced some outrageous tennis with the commentators exuberating amazement at the high level of play, ‘this is another one for the portfolio of astonishing shots from Andy Murray.’ Although, the commentators suggested Janowicz was having ‘a love-hate relationship with his drop shot.’ A very even match again saw Murray convert a break point to lead 4-3 in the second set. As with all Murray matches though, this match was bound to have more drama than a soap opera and it didn’t fail to impress. The set went with serve until 5-4 where Murray had a match point. With some big hitting, Janowicz saved the match point and went on to astonish the crowd by breaking back for 5-5.

The second set went into a tie break where both players exchanged breaks of serve until 4-5 where Murray faltered into the tram lines and Janowicz went on to take the second set 7-6 (7-4). It seemed likely that this would be a mid-match blip as with many other Murray matches, but this wasn’t to be.

At 0-30 1-1 in the third, Murray seemed to give up any fight, and within minutes he was staring down the barrel of a 1-5 deficit. Throughout the match the commentators had exclaimed that the quality of tennis from Janowicz was ‘just superb’, but with a new found level of confidence he appeared to move up a gear further. Another Murray hold saw Janowicz forced to serve out for the match at 5-2. Murray again tested Janowicz with a further break point opportunity but again Janowicz had the answer to all Murray’s questions. With several more scintillating pieces of play, Janowicz broke down on his knees, having beaten Murray 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.  This match was the first top 10 victory of Janowicz’s career. His reaction afterwards was befitting of the respect players on tour have towards Murray following his US Open and Olympic triumphs, “This was the most unbelievable day in my life.”

Murray, at times, has a tendency to throw away matches and to an extent he only had himself to blame after having a match point, although as the commentators recognised Janowicz ‘looks to be the future of the men’s game.’

Jono Hoyer

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