Andy Murray’s Wimbledon thrillride ends as Shapovalov breaks new ground
Andy Murray’s inspiring run at Wimbledon has come to a close, but Denis Shapovalov is still gunning for glory at SW19.
Andy Murray took the British faithful on a week-long thrillride that saw him leave everything on the court in the hunt for former glory. On Friday on Centre Court, playing in the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in four years, the two-time Wimbledon champion saw his progress halted by a hard-charging Canadian seeking a taste of that same glory.
Denis Shapovalov was too good for Murray on Day 5 at Wimbledon, and the straight-as-an-arrow scoreline is indicative of the type of relentless aggression that the No 10 seed used to stop 34-year-old Murray in his tracks.
6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in two hours and 17 minutes, and Shapovalov moves on to face 2019 semi-finalist Roberto Bautista Agut in his first trip to Wimbledon’s round of 16.
Disappointment, but also progress, for Murray
Friday’s lopsided loss was a clear demonstration of just how far Murray needs to come if he really intends to be a factor in the second week of Grand Slam events again. But his electrifying performance in the first two rounds demonstrates how much he has left to give.
“It’s extremely frustrating, because I feel like I put a lot of work into getting to this point, and then obviously to lose like that is tough,” Murray said. “Being as good as he is. I don’t want to take anything away from his performance. He played really, really well. But, you know, if I’m going to put that much effort in, I want to be performing better than what I did here. Even though there were some great moments.”
Limited to just five matches before Wimbledon in 2021, Murray has struggled to find any rhythm. He missed the Australian Open due to a positive Covid-19 test result and then played three matches at Montpellier and Rotterdam before missing the next three months.
It’s hardly a proper preparation for competition against the world’s best. In the last three weeks Murray has accomplished a great deal, first by testing himself against Matteo Berrettini at Queen’s Club, then by reeling off consecutive victories at a Slam for the first time since Wimbledon 2017. His loss to Shapovalov left a lot to be desired – he was broken six times in 12 service games after all – but his performance this week could very well be a stepping stone to better things.
“I’m hoping that, yeah, providing I can stay on the court consistently for, you know, two, three, four months, yeah, that my tennis will get back to a high level,” Murray said, adding: “The consistency is the thing that’s been all over the place, and, yeah, that’s something that we’ll need to change the next couple months.”
Shapovalov eager to test himself in week two
Shapovalov’s brand of high-octane tennis served him well on Friday. In his first appearance on Centre Court the Canadian took the play to Murray from start to finish. He weathered a rough patch in the opening set in which Murray rallied from 5-1 down to 5-4 down, but Shapovalov was pedal to the metal from there as he sped to victory.
“Every point, I was just trying to compete the best I can, and I really felt like I was in every single point today,” Shapovalov said. “So I’m really, really happy with myself on that. It was definitely one of my better matches in that case. I feel like I didn’t give away almost anything. I really was making him earn a lot and really dictating when I had chances.”
Shapovalov cracked 45 winners against just 24 unforced errors and he held serve in all but one of his service games. He won 25 more points than Murray over the course of the two hour and 17-minute match.
Even after a confidence-inspiring victory, Shapovalov sees his growth on the surface as a process. It has taken the 2016 Wimbledon Boys’ Singles champion time to make it deep into the main draw as a pro, and he plans to get better every season on the grass.
It’s not easy, given the potential he possesses, but he’s trying not to get too far ahead of himself.
“I still think there is so much room for me to grow on this surface and to get better,” he said. “So there are definitely things I want to keep working on throughout the years, you know, so that one day I could be a really, really tough opponent on this surface.
“Against Roberto, you know, it’s another tough match. We have never played against each other. He’s a really tough opponent. He doesn’t give much to the other guy. It’s definitely a match I’m going to have to earn. For sure, it’s going to be a long battle.”
- Seeds who have won on Friday: Novak Djokovic (1), Andrey Rublev (5), Roberto Bautista Agut (8), Denis Shapovalov (10), Cristian Garin (17), Karen Khachanov (25)
- Seeds who have lost on Friday: Diego Schwartzman (9), Dan Evans (22), Fabio Fognini (26).
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