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Wimbledon 2021: Andy Murray beaten in straight sets by Denis Shapovalov in third round

Andy Murray beaten in the third round for only the second time in his career as world No 12 Denis Shapovalov proves too strong for two-time Wimbledon champion

Last Updated: 02/07/21 10:22pm

Andy Murray suffered a straight-sets defeat to Denis Shapovalov to end his Wimbledon return at the third round (AP)

Andy Murray’s Wimbledon return ended with his earliest exit since his debut in 2005 after a 6-4 6-2 6-2 third-round defeat at the hands of 10th seed Denis Shapovalov.

Murray, the three-time Grand Slam champion and former world No 1, had no answer to Shapovalov who broke twice early on to set the tone and held off Murray’s best moments of the match in the opening set.

With the comfort of a lead, Shapovalov was ruthless in seeing off Murray and having forged a reputation as one of the brightest talents in the game, the 22-year-old former Wimbledon junior champion looked every inch a Grand Slam title contender as he closed out a straight-sets victory.

Murray had only twice failed to reach the quarter-finals at his home Grand Slam, back in 2005 – his only previous third-round defeat – and in 2006, but his 13th Wimbledon ended with his heaviest defeat at the event.

Wimbledon 2021: Men’s Fourth Round – Top Half

Novak Djokovic (1) vs Cristian Garin (17)
Marton Fucsovics vs Andrey Rublev (5)
Karan Khachanov (25) vs Sebastian Korda
Denis Shapovalov (10) vs Roberto Bautista Agut (8)

Murray had put an injury-ravaged three years behind him to reach the third round for first time since 2017 after wins over 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili and German qualifier Oscar Otte – each more dramatic than the last.

“This is a dream come true for me, it’s been years of hard work and I’ve put so much into every practice thinking that maybe one day I could play on Centre Court.

“To play against a legend like Andy today and to play a match like this.

“A huge shout-out to him… what he is doing, nobody has ever done. He’s truly an inspiration to many people, including me.”

Denis Shapovalov after victory over Andy Murray

Eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut is next for Shapovalov while Murray’s defeat – coupled with Dan Evans’ exit a few hours earlier – means Cameron Norrie is the only British player left in the men’s draw going into his match with Roger Federer.

Five years ago, Shapovalov and Murray were both lifting trophies at the All England Club, but while Murray’s return to Wimbledon for the first time since 2017 had its moments, it’s Shapovalov with his thrill-a-minute tennis who has trophy ambitions this time.

After more than seven hours on court to get to the third round, the last thing Murray needed was another epic but with the first two games taking 12 minutes the crowd looked to be settling in for a long read in the third chapter of Murray’s 2021 Wimbledon story.

Murray's Wimbledon campaign is over after he suffered defeat before the fourth round for only the second time in his career (AP)

Murray’s Wimbledon campaign is over after he suffered defeat before the fourth round for only the second time in his career (AP)

A couple of slips from Murray prompted an early change in footwear, but Shapovalov was undaunted and pounced soon after for the first break.

The Canadian, whose best showing at a Grand Slam was the quarter-final at the US Open last year, thought he had another but Hawkeye gave Murray a reprieve which lasted just a couple of moments.

Having seized the initiative with a brilliant backhand cross-court winner, Shapovalov consolidated with a hold to love and then added another break for good measure on his way to a 5-2 advantage.

But the 34-year-old broke Shapovalov to love, then reeled off four points on his own serve to claim a third game in succession.

Shapovalov vs Murray: Match Stats

Shapovalov Match Stats Murray
13 Aces 1
3 Double Faults 2
71% 1st serve win percentage 51%
57% 2nd serve win percentage 52%
6/11 Break points won 1/9
45 Total winners 16
14 Unforced errors 17
98 Total points won 73

Remarkably, Murray fashioned three chances to break again for a level match, but Shapovalov dug deep into his bag of tricks to fend off Murray and a whipped-up home crowd to take the opener.

The 22-year-old looked to have ridden the storm from the former world No 1, when he repeated the trick of the opening set, breaking Murray twice early on for a 3-0 advantage – another Murray mistake handing him the second break of serve.

However, this week has embodied Murray’s career and once again he fashioned a way to fight back, only this time, unlike most of the Basilashvili and Otte matches, he couldn’t take the opportunities he carved out.

Shapovalov will face Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in the quarter-final (AP)

Shapovalov will face Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in the quarter-final (AP)

An arduous sixth game, which lasted more than 10 minutes, saw five break points come and go for Murray, although Shapovalov showed he is not just about fine shot making as a string of strong first and second serves continually denied Murray the break.

A routine hold from Murray forced Shapovalov to serve for a 2-0 lead, and he wasted little time in taking it – leaving the Scot faced with the prospect of winning three successive sets, something he hasn’t done since 2017.

For the third time this week, the Wimbledon roof stepped in as the gathering darkness forced a suspension in play and while Murray hadn’t lost a set under the roof, there was to be no reprieve under the Friday night lights.

For the third set in succession, Shapovalov twice broke early as he fashioned a 5-1 lead once again and while Murray held onto his serve for one last time, the Canadian closed out a brilliant display.

“I just told him at the net that he’s my hero. First of all, achievements aside, what he’s been able to do in the sport – to come back from an injury like that and to be playing the tennis that he is playing and to be moving like he’s moving – it’s amazing.

Shapovalov hails Murray return

Despite the nature of his defeat there are positives for Murray to take from his week’s work, not least his competitive desire, and a run of results that take him to the brink of a return to the top 100 and he remains adamant that he plays on because he feels in can win.

He will turn his attention to the American hard court season and more immediately the Olympics next month where he will be the two-time defending champion in Tokyo.

However, up against the 12th-best player in the world his lack of recent experience against the very best was evident and his heaviest Wimbledon defeat was the final word on his return to the grass courts that have brought his finest hours.

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