Stefanos Tsitsipas fought off Andy Murray to silence a partisan Centre Court crowd with a superb 7-6(3), 6-7(2), 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 victory in a gripping Wimbledon second-round match on Friday.
The 24-year-old Greek trailed by two sets to one after twice Wimbledon champion Murray edged ahead in three tight sets on Thursday night before Wimbledon’s curfew halted play mid-battle.
As the match resumed in sparkling sunshine on Friday, fifth seed Tsitsipas showed incredible composure to edge a tense fourth set on a tiebreak after both players had been rock solid on serve, as they had been throughout the contest.
The 36-year-old Murray, who has not reached the fourth round at a Grand Slam since 2017 and underwent hip-resurfacing surgery in 2019, finally began to look weary in the fifth.
Errors began to come from his racket and Tsitsipas sensed his moment with a break in the third game -- the first time he had taken Murray’s serve in the match.
Tsitsipas forged 5-3 ahead but Murray hung in to test the Greek’s nerve.
Two match points went begging but at the third time of asking an ace ended Murray’s dream.
Tsitsipas, who also needed five sets to beat Austrian Dominic Thiem in a rain-hit first-round clash, will face Serbia’s 60th-ranked Laslo Djere next as he eyes a deep run having only once reached the last 16 in 2018.
“It’s never easy against Andy. Everyone loves him here. It was a very difficult game and I’m impressed how well he holds up after his hip surgeries and his level today,” Tsitsipas said.
“It was nerve-racking. It was an obstacle and it’s extra difficult when you’ve grown up watching him play on this court.”
Eubanks overpowers Norrie
American Christopher Eubanks claimed the biggest win of his career when he stunned British number one Cameron Norrie 6-3 3-6 6-2 7-6(3) to move into the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Standing 6 foot 7 inches (201 cm) tall, Eubanks would look more at home on an NBA court than Court One at Wimbledon but he arrived at the All England Club after breaking into the top 50 with his first ATP title at the Mallorca Open last week.
In a match between two players who came through the American college system, the wiry Eubanks fired down 21 aces that screamed past Norrie, who reached the Wimbledon semifinals last year.
No matter how many rackets Norrie requested be restrung, he could do little to nullify Eubanks’ power and the 27-year-old received a standing ovation from the crowd despite knocking out one of Britain’s biggest hopes.
“There’s tons of really good tennis players who play professional tennis who never get the chance to play the number one Brit at Wimbledon in an atmosphere like this,” Eubanks said.
“It didn’t even matter how many people were for me or against me, this is something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.”
For a player making his Wimbledon debut, Eubanks showed no signs of nerves as Norrie failed to win a point off the American’s serve until the seventh game of the match.
Rallies were also in short supply as Eubanks mixed power and finesse with his serve and volley game to baffle Norrie to take the opening set.
Errors crept into his game in the second set, however, which allowed Norrie to race into a 3-0 lead and the Briton, egged on by a vocal home crowd, levelled the match.
Eubanks’s power game seemed unsustainable, but the American broke early in the third set and clinched it.
His long strides allowed him to cover the court quickly and the self-confessed Roger Federer fan won 23 points at the net, winning the fourth set tiebreak with a deft volley.
“I watched a lot of Federer growing up. He’s the guy that even to this day I still go back and try to find some of his old matches and just try to pick little things up,” Eubanks added.
“I know he’s a far better mover than I am... But I try my best to just take little bits of various players and to implement them into my game and try to create a style of my own.”
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