Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up Andy Murray blockbuster with epic five-set win
Andy Murray will take on Stefanos Tsitsipas on Centre Court on Thursday after the fifth seed came through a five-set battle against Dominic Thiem.
A match that started at 11am on Tuesday finally finished just before 8pm on Wednesday with Tsitsipas claiming a 3-6 7-6 (1) 6-2 6-7 (5) 7-6 (8) victory after three hours and 56 minutes of on-court action.
That will certainly have done Murray’s chances no harm given the two-time former champion was able to relax on Wednesday having wrapped up an easy win over Ryan Peniston under the roof 24 hours previously.
Murray and Tsitsipas have met twice previously – a five-set epic at the US Open in 2021 that went the Greek’s way and an encounter on grass in Stuttgart last summer where Murray claimed one of his best wins since his hip surgery.
Tsitsipas said of facing Murray: “I’m not expecting anyone supporting (me). It’s not my first rodeo.”
It is almost exactly 10 years since the Scot first lifted the trophy in SW19, and Tsitsipas said: “I remember witnessing his first Wimbledon title. Thinking about it now gives me goosebumps because I sort of felt what he went through because it was so difficult for him to close that last game.
“Every time I see that again it gives me shivers. He’s someone who’s done so much for the sport and I’ll go into it with a lot of respect for him. He’s such a tough competitor. That (Centre Court) is almost like his living room.”
Murray said after their New York clash he had lost respect for Tsitsipas over his use of toilet breaks but the Greek insisted that is water under the bridge, saying: “I think it has been settled already a long time ago. I’ve forgotten about it. He has forgotten about it.
“He is a strong opponent, he has played on this court so many times. Grass suits his game very good. He has shown it with two titles here. He has won Queen’s in the past. He’s a strong opponent on grass.
“I played him once before on grass in Stuttgart. I need to up my game on this occasion. Looking forward to having to face his solid game, which will make it physical. That is something that I haven’t been exposed to a lot on grass, but I will have to put in the work and make it work this way.”
It has been an up-and-down season for Tsitsipas, who reached his second grand slam final at the Australian Open but was brushed aside by Carlos Alcaraz in the quarter-finals of the French Open and has won only two of his five matches on grass.
He resumed on Wednesday a set down to former US Open champion Thiem, who has now lost in the first round of grand slams six consecutive times as he continues to try to return to his former glories following a wrist injury.
The Austrian is at least getting closer and this match was right in the balance until the end of the deciding tie-break.
Tsitsipas’ girlfriend Paula Badosa came out to support him after winning her opening match and a final forehand pass proved to be the crucial moment.
The 24-year-old was left surprised by his own reaction, saying: “I fought hard today. I won the match. I don’t think I felt this empty after a win in a very long time. But I’ll still take it. It’s a win. I’m hoping I can keep moving forward.”