Teenager Alcaraz wears down Murray in bruising, brilliant encounter in Vienna
The Spanish teenager needed more than two hours to get the better of the former world No 1 to reach the quarter-finals
Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz showed once again why he’s tipped to be a superstar of the future as he beat Andy Murray 6-3, 6-4 in a match of the highest quality at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna.
The 18-year-old won a bruising clash, which lasted two hours, six minutes and contained some absolutely lung-busting rallies, to reach the quarter-finals and end Murray’s proud unbeaten record in Vienna. He’ll play Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in the last eight after he beat Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-3.
“For me it’s a great feeling to play against Andy Murray and to be able to beat him,” Alcaraz said. “I played really, really well, just really happy for the performance today.”
Former world No 1 Murray had beaten Alcaraz in three sets when they met in Indian Wells earlier this month and when he led 4-2 in the second set, it seemed as if he would take it to a decider again.
But the Spaniard never budged, broke back and then, thanks to some more brilliant hitting, broke Murray again to win a superb match in straight sets.
Alcaraz takes epic first set in more than an hour
The first set was a mini classic in itself.
Alcaraz broke in the opening game and immediately, thoughts turned to whether the three hours, 45 minutes Murray had spent in beating world No 10 Hubert Hurkacz of Poland in round one.
The first five games lasted 44 minutes as both men ran themselves ragged, Alcaraz forcing Murray to show off his retrieval skills and dig as deep as he could manage.
But after Murray broke back for 2-2, he broke again in the next game and one more break sealed the set.
Murray fights back, but Alcaraz gets it done
Murray continues to be a medical miracle, hauling his metal hip from corner to corner, and he won a 28-shot rally at 0-1 on his way to an important hold, a psychological edge that took him to a 4-2 lead, thanks to some brilliant ball-striking and reslience of the kind he has shown throughout his career.
But every time a question was asked of Alcaraz he responded. After holding for 3-4, he broke back to level and two games later, a thunderous backhand return was too much for Murray and he clinched the win, leaving the Scot to rue his missed opportunities, having taken just two of his 10 break point chances.