SHANGHAI MASTERS – Andy Murray came close to a new performance of choice on Tuesday. The Scot has served twice for the match against Fabio Fognini before falling 7-6, 2-6, 7-6 after three hours and ten minutes of a hell of a fight. In the next round, the Italian will be opposed to the American Taylor Fritz or the Russian Karen Khachanov.
A merciless and electric fight
And that these hesitant beginnings in Ohio now seem far away. To be convinced, it was enough to see him tearing himself on improbable defenses or frantic racing forward at the end of the third set, against a hot Fabio Fognini like embers. In combat, the Italian did not lead wide and did not hesitate to resort to his legendary mischief to disrupt his opponent. At 5 games everywhere, he shouted in full swing, hoping to make Murray miss the net. If the episode, to say the least "borderline", did not then prevented the Scot from taking the break, it has sufficiently marked the person so that it challenges vehemently the referee at the change of side.
Did the ex-world number one then lose his concentration? Hard to say. Still, it is well Fognini who escaped after a break and final play final led masterfully. But if the tension reached its climax, it is also because the two players surrendered for blow, reaching in sequence a fabulous level. The crossover has also started from the first exchanges: the Scotsman and the Italian have each in turn a break in advance, before the last city turns in the lead, already higher in the exercise of tiebreak.
Murray winced after the loss of the first set, making him fear the worst for his hip. But it was only a smirk and he immediately went back to the fight, reversing the trend by being very aggressive at the raise (especially side-back) and giving weight to his shot in forehand. Once the counters reset, the final fight has kept all its promises with the outcome that we know. Praising by perfectionism at the slightest miss, "Sir Andy" is well and truly back. And this cruel scenario could well multiply his motivation for the final straight in indoor.