Andy Murray was left in tears after winning his first ATP singles title since returning back from his hip surgery. He beat Stan Wawrinka in the final of the ATP Antwerp Open on Sunday.
The Brit, who had almost decided to quit tennis following a recurring hip problem, needed three sets to get past Wawrinka and then buried his head in his hands as tears flowed for the former world number one.
He won 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 against a player who was also seeking his first title since 2017 after having had injury problems of his own.
Wawrinka took the early lead in the first set, breaking Murray in the very first game and then repeated the dose to go 3-0 up. Murray broke back on love but try as he did he was unable to level things off. There were continuous breaks of serves after that before Wawrinka wrapped up the set 6-3.
Murray got a break in the very first game of the second set only to give it back to Wawrinka. And when the Brit was broken yet again at 1-2, the writing looked to be on the wall. He won three games in a row though to take a 4-3 lead but lost serve yet again at 4-4.
The Swiss saved a break-point in the ninth game but lost the next one before Murray served it out to make it a set apiece.
The pair exchanged early breaks again but at 4-4 in the final set, it looked to be headed towards a humdinger. Wawrinka had two game-points on his serve to take the 5-4 lead but Murray came roaring back to break him on the first chance he got. And then in the 10th game, he came back from 15-40 down and avoided four break-points to wrap up the set off the first match-point he got to come out a worthy winner.
Murray had earlier defeated Kimmer Coppejans, Pablo Cuevas, Marius Copil and Ugo Humbert to make it to the final. Wawrinka’s wins had come over Feliciano Lopez, Gilles Simon and Jannik Sinner.
In doing so Murray has now won his 46th title on the men’s circuit, and his first since returning from a hip surgery that had threatened to end his career. The Briton, who had last won a title in March 2017, said:
“It’s amazing to be back playing against Stan in a final like that, he was playing unbelievable. I never expected to be in this position so I’m very happy.”
Murray, who had fallen to a season low of 503rd on the ATP charts, will end his season closer to the 120th rank in the world if he doesn’t play another tournament. And another decent showing in the lead-up to the Australian Open could allow him a direct entry into the first major of the new year.