Murray Falls To Teenager Mensik In Marathon Battle As Rublev Advances


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Chinthana Wasala | The Peninsula

Doha, Qatar: Young Czech sensation Jakub Mensik yesterday cut short Andy Murray's run at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, prevailing in a three-set thriller that lasted almost three and a half hours.

The 18-year-old Next Gen ATP star racked up a memorable 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/4) to advance to the quarter-finals at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.

“I'm just speechless right now, I don't know what to say,” said Mensik, who rose 14 places to No. 102 in the ATP Live Rankings after the hard-fought victory.

“I know that a lot of the fans wanted Andy to win today, so hopefully they will come to watch my match tomorrow. I'm just happy. It was a tough match today. Andy is an unbelievable player, I know that. When I was young, I watched him win Wimbledon two times, so it's unbelievable that he can still compete with the best players in the world,” Mensik said during his on-court interview.

Murray on Tuesday worked hard to beat Alexandre Muller to end a six-match losing streak and mark his first win of the year, but the young star was too good for him in the Round of 16 clash as the 36-year-old Briton encountered a formidable challenge in Mensik.


Russia's Andrey Rublev hits a return against France's Richard Gasquet. AFP

After the Czech failed to serve out the match twice in the third set, Murray roared back from 2-5 down, but the teenager held firm to prevail after contesting his first deciding-set tie-break in a tour-level match. Mensik finished having struck 18 winners including 12 aces against the former World No.1, a two-time champion in Doha.

“The first set was tough with the conditions, the wind started a little bit,” Mensik said.

“The tie-break was not such good quality, and I was a little bit lucky in the end.

“In the third set, I was 5-2, and then when it was 5-5 I just said, 'Go on. This guy will not give me any points'. I tried to stay calm and in the tie-break, I'm just super happy I stayed focused until the end,” Mensik said.

As part of the Next Gen ATP brand expansion, players aged 20 and under who reach the Top 250 at any point in the season receive one main draw opportunity at an ATP 250 in a week when there are three or more ATP Tour events. Mensik has taken up that offer in Doha.

He next faces Russian top seed Andrey Rublev, who later yesterday defeated another former Qatar ExxonMobil Open champion Richard Gasquet

Rublev, the winner of the Doha title in 2020, defeated the 2013 champion 6-3, 6-4 in just 57 minutes to reach his fourth quarter-final in as many events this year.

“I'm really happy to be able to win in straight sets. It feels better than to have this stress with three sets and you don't know how the match is going to go. It's always nice to play shorter to be ready for tomorrow,” Rublev said.

After both Murray and Gasquet lost their respective pre-quarter-finals, Russian Rublev and Frenchman Gael Monfils are the only former champions standing in the tournament.

Monfils defeated China's Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(2) in two hours and 25 minutes and will take on third seed Ugo Humbert who raced past Pavel Kotov 6-4, 6-1 in the next round.

Two other seeded players also booked their quarter-final spots, including Karen Khachanov, who beat Fabian Marozsan 6-4, 7-5 for his 200th tour win to set up a meeting against Emil Ruusuvuori, who beat Christopher O'Connell 6-3, 6-3.

Fourth seed Alexander Bublik beat Marton Fucsovics 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to advance to face Alexei Popyrin who overcame qualifier Hugo Grenier 7-6(3), 6-7(8), 6-1.

Today's Order of Play

CENTRE COURT
Matches start at 2:30 pm
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) vs. Alexander Bublik (KAZ) [4]
Followed by
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) vs. Karen Khachanov [2]
Not before 6:00 pm
Andrey RUBLEV [1] vs. Jakub MENSÍK (CZE)
Followed by
Ugo Humbert (FRA) [3] vs. [WC] Gael Monfils (FRA)

GRANDSTAND 1
Matches start at 3:00 pm
Jamie Murray (GBR)/Michael Venus (NZL) [1] vs. Wesley Koolhof (NED)/Nikola Mektic (CRO)
Followed by after rest
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP)/Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) vs Lorenzo Musetti (ITA)/Lorenzo Sonego (ITA)
Followed by after rest
Karen Khachanov/Andrey Rublev vs Ariel Behar (URU)/Adam Pavlasek (CZE)

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