Andy Murray’s journey back to the top echelons of the game took another major step forward by reaching the final of the Boss Open in Stuttgart with a straight set semi-final victory over Nick Kyrgios, for his fourth consecutive win without dropping a set.
It has been a long time since the last final. A lot of ups and downs, but I kept going and kept working and finally managed to get to another one,. I am proud of the effort I have put in Andy Murray
He defeated the Australian 7-6(5) 6-2 who allowed his frustrations get the better of him during the tie-break and at the start of the second set earning himself a penalty point and a game penalty.
The first set had been a tight affair with both players holding their serve only for the Scot to gain control in what was his third successful tie-break of the week.
However, the loss of that set provoked Kyrgios into one of his now famous meltdowns as he vented his frustrations by smashing his racket to earn the second of his penalty points having picked up one for ball abuse during the tie-break.
He was still fuming when the second set got underway and he lost his serve for the first time in the match, on a double fault leading to a torrent of abuse aimed mainly at the umpire to earn himself a game penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
That didn’t go down well and led to an argument with the umpire, N Helwerth, with the Aussie delaying the match by taking to his seat before the Supervisor arrived to persuade him to resume though it became obvious his heart wasn’t in it.
The first set had taken 65-minutes whilst the second was clocked at 28 and despite the Kyrgios histrionics, Murray showed plenty of flashes of the former self he has been working hard to recover following his hip surgery.
The 93-minute win has brought the three-time grand slam champion his 70th career final and the first on grass since his victory at Wimbledon in 2016.
“It has been a long time since the last final. A lot of ups and downs, but I kept going and kept working and finally managed to get to another one,” a satisfied Murray said following his sixth win over the Aussie in seven meetings. “I am proud of the effort I have put in.
“I was just a little more solid in the tiebreak. I asked the questions.
“On these courts, when it is playing quick, the set often comes down to one or two points and I was a little more secure at the end of the first set.
“I didn’t have to work too hard in the second but the first set was high quality.
“He got frustrated after that.”
Kyrgios had won their last meeting at Queen’s in 2018 and had break chances in the first set but failed to capitalise on the opportunities.
Murray now faces the second seeded Matteo Berrettini, the powerful Italian who is comfortable on grass having won Queen’s last year beating Murray en route to the title, and then reached the final of Wimbledon itself.
Berrettini, who has been off the tour for three months with a hand injury, is playing his first event since undergoing surgery to that hand and is still feeling his way. In his first two matches he was taken to three sets and in his semi-final, he required 108-minutes and two tie-breakers to defeat Germany’s Oscar Otte 7-6(7) 7-6(5).
“I am really happy. Arriving at the tournament, that was the goal,” Berrettini said. “From thinking about it and actually making it, is a big difference. I am happy I am here and have another chance to play another final after months without playing and after the first big surgery in my career.
“This means this is my level and I have proved once again I am comfortable at this level and on this surface. I really like it here at Stuttgart.”
If Murray wins it will be his 47th title on the tour and his first since October 2019 when he won the European Open against Stan Wawrinka in Antwerp. It is also his second of the season having reached the Sydney final last January.
The Brit, currently ranked at No 68, will move up to No 47 following his semi-final victory over Kyrgios and even higher if he succeeds against Berrettini and with an 8-win to one loss in grass court finals, he has a good chance of pulling off an upset to equal his victory over the top seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“I’m happy to be in the final and I’ve got a great opportunity against Matteo,” Murray said of Sunday’s clash after which he will return to London to participate at the ‘cinch Championships’ at Queens where another Italian, Lorenzo Sonego, awaits in the first round.