Former world number one Andy Murray, who lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first-round of the US Open, has decided to participate in multiple tournaments in order to get winning momentum when he plays marquee events.
Aug 30, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Andy Murray of Great Britain hits to Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece (not pictured) on day one of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
As a result, the Brit decided to play the challenger tournament in Rennes, France. In the opening match of the tournament, he defeated Yannick Maden in straight sets comfortably, 6-3,6-1.
In the second match of the event, the three-time grand slam champion faced Russia’s Roman Safiullin. The duo never met each other on tour before. Let’s see how the match progressed.
Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 2, 2021 Great Britain’s Andy Murray reacts during his third round match against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Murray took time to settle into the match as Safiullin donned the role of aggressor and started dominating from the baseline. The Russian served well throughout the match as Andy Murray lost some crucial points in that department.
Andy Murray crashes out of Rennes Challenger event
However, it was the percentage wins on second serve that deterred Murray’s chances of winning. After losing the first set, the former world number one bounced back in the second with immense grit and pushed the match to a decider.
Safiullin changed gears in the third set and started to attack the second serve of Murray and broke his serve twice. The Russian rose to a healthy lead of 5-0 in the decider before Andy decided to avoid a bagel and won the sixth game on serve.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Tennis Training – Ariake Tennis Park, Tokyo, Japan – July 20, 2021 Andy Murray of Britain during training REUTERS/Edgar Su
Having to serve for the match at 5-1, Roman Safiullin didn’t give Murray any chance of making a comeback. Even though Murray did try to bounce back by leveling the score 30-30, Safiullin played well during the next baseline exchange and got himself a match point.
Sensation à l’@OpenBlotRennes. Andy Murray sort dès les huitièmes de finale suite à sa défaite en trois sets face au Russe Roman Safiullin, 158e au classement ATP (6-2, 4-6, 6-1). pic.twitter.com/7PKDkLwVoW
— Thomas Morlec (@ThomasMorlec) September 15, 2021
In the end, it was Roman Safiullin who was successful in eliminating Andy Murray from the match as he moved to the quarter-finals of Rennes Challenger. A disappointing match for the former world number one as he might play the tournament in San Diego next.