Andy Murray declared himself ‘surprised’ at having reached the final the European Open in Antwerp in what is only his fifth tournament on the ATP tour since his career-saving hip surgery last January.
It’s been a long road to get back to this point. I certainly didn’t expect it to come so soon since I started playing again Andy Murray
Murray who is steadily regaining his form, defeated France’s Ugo Humbert 3-6 7-5 6-2 to make the title round in just over two and a half hours.
“It’s been a big surprise to me. I’m happy to be into the final,” he said. “It’s been a long road to get back to this point.
“I certainly didn’t expect it to come so soon since I started playing again.
“I did very well to turn that match around today. It was tough. He was playing huge from the back of the court… It was tricky today.
“It was obviously big for me to get that [6-5] game in the second set, but the game that won me the match was the first game of the third set.”
Murray had spurned two break points at 2-2 in the first set and paid the price in the next to trail 4-2 before the young Frenchman served out to clinch the first set after 41 minutes.
Murray broke Humbert to lead 3-1 in the second but was pegged back as the Briton was starting to feel the effect of his gruelling week in his elbow but he edged back ahead 6-5 and captured the second set when Humbert faltered with two loose forehands offering three break points. He converted the third,
In the decider Murray kept up the pressure and was rewarded with an early break after saving three break points to lead 3-0 to establish control. He moved smoothly ahead 4-1 and 5-2 and secured his place in the final on the first of two match points.
The 32-year-old Briton will tackle fellow three-time Grand Slam title winner Stan Wawrinka in the final the Swiss who earlier in the day ended Italian teenager Jannik Sinner’s fine run 6-3 6-2.
“I am super happy,” said Wawrinka, the world No,18, who, like Murray, has battled injury setbacks in recent years, undergoing two knee surgeries in 2017.
“I didn’t play since the US Open, so to be in a final here after a month away is great for me.
Murray, now ranked a lowly 243, is playing for the fourth successive week since making his singles return at Cincinnati in August leads his final opponent 11-9 from their previous meetings.
“Stan’s a brilliant player,” Murray said in advance of their meeting. “We’ve played against each other in some big matches in the past, in big tournaments.
“He’s had his injury troubles as well the last couple of years and done great to get back to the top of the game.
“It was actually my match with him at the French Open in 2017 when my hip problems really started.
“It was a tough five-set match in the semis and my hip never really recovered from that, so it’s cool to be back playing against him in a final.”