Australian Open 2017: Mischa Zverev sends world number one Andy Murray packing
Zverev awaits the winner of the big match between Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori.
World no.50 Mischa Zverev produced a huge upset, knocking Andy Murray out, 7-5 5-7 6-2 6-4, in the 4th round of the Australian Open. Mischa is the elder brother of Sascha Zverev, the 19-year old who had stretched Rafael Nadal to five sets yesterday.
The opposing styles of tennis on display made the match a treat to watch. Murray's counter-punching from the baseline blended perfectly well with Mischa's serve-volley game.
While Andy found it difficult to deal with Zverev's forays into the net early in the match, he quickly had the measure of his game towards the end of the second set and appeared to have the match in control. But Mischa was not one to go away, as he kept up with the world number one, matching him shot for shot.
1st Set – Zverev shows character
Zverev showed incredible fighting spirit to come back from being a break down twice in this set, once at 3-1 and next at 5-3, when Murray served for the set.
In fact, he broke Murray a staggering three times in one set, a feat that not many players on tour can manage to achieve.
After holding serve comfortably in the first game, Murray immediately had a break point on Mischa's serve, was unable to convert. But Murray took his opportunity in Mischa's next service game to quickly go up 3-1.
However, after being down 40-0 on the Murray serve in the next game, the German produced some of his best tennis of the match to immediately break Murray to get the match back on serve. Then after holding serve, Zverev had two opportunities to go up a break, but Murray saved both of them with some clutch serving.
Murray broke Zverev in the very next game to go up 5-3, but Mischa hustled incredibly well to break Murray and then hold for a 5-5 score. He broke Murray again at 5-5 and then showed nerves of steel to serve out the set to love.
2nd Set – Murray levels it up
The second set followed the topsy-turvy nature of the 1st set, with breaks galore. It was Murray's turn to break first again, quickly moving to a 3-0 lead.
But the young German again showed that he was not one to chicken out against the world number one, playing his heart out to break Murray back and pull the score back to 3-2.
But with the mental resolve that Murray's known for, he immediately broke Zverev again, converting on his second break point. But Zverev was not yet done. He ground out the baseline rallies against Murray, mixed with coming up to the net, to break the Murray serve again.
Serving at 4-5 and 0-40 down, Zverev saved three set points with some smart serving to level things up at 5-5.
Murray, however, showed why he's the world number one in the next two games. After holding serve to love, he played one of the best return games that one could ever play to break Mischa's serve to love to bag the second set 7-5.
3rd Set – A lesson in precision from Zverev
Zverev was the one who called the shots in this set. The teenager made just one unforced error in a 6-2 rout of the world number one.
Murray actually tried everything he could. Noticing that Zverev was having trouble returning the slower serves, Murray slowed down his first serve speed in this set. He usually sends them down at around at 200 kmph, but brought it down to around the 170 mark to trouble Mischa. But Zverev seemed to have all the answers.
It actually seemed to be working quite well until 2-2, when Mischa brought up 3 break points on the Murray serve. And then simply played one of the most gorgeous points of the match to bring up the break. Returning deep, coming into the net, and hitting two volleys at full stretch to go up a break at 3-2.
In the very next game, Murray hit a series of lobs and passing winners to bring up break point, but Mischa saved it. And then sent down two big serves, including an ace that just caught the line, to hold serve for 4-2.
Zverev brought up another two break points for himself after having drawn errors from the Murray forehand and converted on the second opportunity after Murray tried to serve-volley like Mischa, unable to volley a ball that was directed to his face.
Murray had no answers to Mischa's serve-volleying in this game, and Mischa quickly held to take the set 6-2.
4th Set – Zverev seals the deal
From 40-15 up, Murray lost his service game in the very first game, courtesy some top level tennis from Mischa Zverev. At deuce, Mischa first produced an unreal forehand passing winner to bring up break point. And then he dug in the rally with Andy Murray to draw an error out of the Brit to secure a 1-0 lead.
He then held his calm to hold for a 2-0 lead, continuing to attack the net at every opportunity.
A couple of routine holds extended Mischa's lead to 4-2 as strong serving by Mischa put Murray under immense pressure, leaving him 2 games away from a flight back home to Scotland.
Serving at 3-5 down, Murray had a few nervy moments. He, however, held on after a long game.
It was going to be tough for Mischa to be able to serve out the match against Murray, as he had not been in such kinds of situations too many times. But he kept his calm incredibly well, serving big to dodge a 15-30 deficit to win the match!