Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was made to battle Monday as he rallied past former World No. 1 Andy Murray 2-6, 7-6(7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the second round at the US Open as he began his quest for his first major title.
The Greek Champion, who has now notched a tour-leading 49 victories this year, saved two set points at 4/6 in the second-set tie-break to avoid going down two sets to love, before advancing in four hours and 48 minutes.
”It is not easy,” Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview. “I had to make lots of sacrifices to come back. I think the atmosphere was great today, with a lot of positive tennis. The New York crowd is known to be one of the best crowds in the world. The fact we are able to compete out here with an electric crowd today is something we have been waiting for.”
Tsitsipas, currently No. 3 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, has enjoyed a strong North American hard-court swing, reaching the semi-finals in Toronto and Cincinnati this month.
Andy Murray was fuming toward the end of his first-round loss to No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas on Monday — and well afterwards — over what he viewed as an unethically long bathroom break before the decisive fifth set. Tsitsipas also took a medical timeout after losing the third set to Murray to have the trainers look at a foot injury.
Immediately after the bathroom break, which clocked in at roughly eight minutes, Tsitsipas broke Murray’s serve and held on for an eventual 2-6, 7-6 (9-7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory. Murray complained loudly about it to the chair umpire throughout the fifth set and offered an icy handshake at the net following match point.
Even after cooling down briefly in the locker room, Murray didn’t hesitate to unload on Tsitsipas’ tactics.
“It’s just disappointing because I feel it influenced the outcome of the match,” Murray said. “I’m not saying I necessarily win that match, for sure, but it had an influence on what was happening after those breaks. I think he’s a brilliant player. I think he’s great for the game. But I have zero time for that stuff at all, and I lost respect for him.”
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Midway in the fifth set, 0-2 down, Murray lost his cool and lashed out at the supervisor, Gerry Armstrong who was sitting in the front row. “For 20 mins every time!” Murray complained. “The toilet’s right there. What’s he doing in there? It’s never once taken me to go to a toilet that long ever,” a frustrated Murray said.