Andy Murray teetered on the brink before beating Alexander Zverev in a marathon that lasted more than three hours on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals of the Qatar Open.
Murray won 7-6 (7/5), 2-6, 7-5 after he was twice two points from defeat on his serve in the third set.
In his on-court interview after the victory, Murray said the crowd helped him.
“It makes a big difference for the players when we come and get a lot of energy and a great atmosphere from the crowd,” Murray said. “I enjoyed playing in that atmosphere tonight.”
The British former World No. 1 will face French qualifier Alexandre Muller, who upset Dutch eighth seed Botic van de Zandschulp 6-2, 6-4.
Murray and Muller have never met.
“Not so familiar,” said Murray. “But he’s had a good week this week coming through qualifying. He will have played four matches now, so obviously likes these conditions,”
“My coach will watch video and stuff tonight to get a bit more familiar with his game, but it’s an opportunity for me in the quarters.”
Rublev trumps Griekspoor
Top-seeded Andrey Rublev, the Doha winner in 2020, was in danger of suffering a fourth opening-match exit in five tournaments this year before fighting his way back from 2-5 in the third set to edge Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor 1-6, 6-1, 7-6 (8/6).
Griekspoor squandered three match points on his serve in the ninth game of the third set.
He then saved two match points in the tie-break before Rublev won in one hour 54 minutes.
Rublev will face Jiri Lehecka, a 21-year-old Czech, who beat Finn Emil Ruusuvuori, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2).
Canadian second seed Felix Auger-Aliassime struggled against Jason Kubler’s serve in the first set but recovered to overcome the Australian 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 after two hours and 16 minutes.
Kubler had won the only previous meeting in Newport last year.
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