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Murray ousts Shapovalov to set up Madrid meeting with Djokovic

Andy Murray gets past Denis Shapovalov in a back-and-forth three-setter at the Madrid Masters on Tuesday night. That sets up a third-round showdown between longtime rivals Murray and Novak Djokovic.

Andy Murray at the Madrid Open in 2017 Andy Murray at the Madrid Open in 2017 Image Credit: SFP / Panoramic

Mutua Madrid Open | Draw | Order of play

Heading into the Mutua Madrid Open, Andy Murray had not won a match on clay since 2017. He also has not played against Novak Djokovic since 2017.

Murray checked the clay-court win off the list on Monday by beating Dominic Thiem and now he has another after taking down Denis Shapovalov 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 to conclude Tuesday’s schedule, a result that was preceded by Novak Djokovic’s 6-3, 6-2 rout of Gael Monfils. The 43-year-old Scot’s reward is a date with Djokovic on Thursday.

My movement won me that match.

Andy Murray

Shapovalov served at an outstanding 75 percent, but Murray’s return game and defensive skills were too much for the Canadian’s offense. Murray generated 11 break chances and converted four of them, which was enough for him to advance after two hours and nine minutes.

“A little bit,” Murray said when asked if he was surprised by his level having not played on clay for so long. “But I’ve also worked really hard to get to this point. I trained very hard the last four or five weeks and got my game in good shape. My movement is so much better than it was at the beginning of the year. That makes a huge difference in my whole game. It allows me to make different decisions on the court. My movement won me that match tonight. He has so much power and I managed to defend lots of points.”

Murray vs. Djokovic Madrid in third round

Murray and Djokovic have faced each other 36 times, but they have not been on opposite sides of the net in more than five years. Their last meeting came in the 2017 Doha final, in which Djokovic triumphed 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. The 34-year-old Serb leads the head-to-head series 25-11, including a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory in the final of this Madrid event in 2016.

Interestingly, their first-ever matchup also came Madrid — back when it was an indoor hard-court tournament in the fall. Djokovic won that one 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 16 years ago.

Following his win over Shapovalov, Murray downplayed his chances — although it’s not like Djokovic is in peak form these days, either.

“In theory I should have no chance in the match,” the three-time major champion noted. “He’s obviously No. 1 in the world and I’m playing with a metal hip, so I shouldn’t have a chance in the match. It’s a great opportunity for me to see where my game’s at and to play against him again. We’ve had so many great battles over the years at some of the biggest tournaments. We’ve played in the final in all four Grand Slams. We played here in the final. 

“I’ll enjoy it; I’ll have a fantastic attitude in the match, give it my best, and see where I’m at.”

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