Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday February 21, 2024

Jakub Mensik

Jakub Mensik nearly squandered a double-break lead in the final set, but steered past Andy Murray in an epic Doha encounter.

Photo Source: TTV

Andy Murray nearly battled back for an epic win on Wednesday in Doha. Instead, he was served another heartbreaker by a rising talent that his half his age.

18-year-old Jakub Mensik came through a three hour and 23-minute thriller against the three-time major champion, notching a
7-6(6), 6-7(3), 7-6(4) victory after Murray rallied from 5-2 double break down in the final set to put the result in doubt.

Tennis Express

In the end it was Mensik who had the steelier nerves; the Czech reeled off the final three points of the contest to secure a place his first career ATP quarterfinal.

“I’m just speechless right now, I don’t know what to say,” Mensik said on court after his victory, before paying tribute to the legend he had just shared the court with. “I know that a lot of the fans wanted Andy to win today, so hopefully they will come to watch my match tomorrow.

“It was a tough match today. Andy is an unbelievable player, I know that. When I was young, I watched him win Wimbleden two times, so it’s unbelievable that he can still compete with the best players in the world.”

Mensik, who reached the US Open round of 32 last year from qualifying, is the youngest player inside the ATP’s Top 200, and the third player born in 2005 or later to reach an ATP quarterfinal.

He has risen 14 spots in the ATP live rankings this week and can break the Top 100 with another win. He faces top-seeded Andrey Rublev next.

Rublev made light work of another former champion on Wednesday, easing past 2013 champion Richard Gasquet, 6-3, 6-4.

Mensik had his hands full with Murray in their epic encounter. After racing out to a 5-2 lead in the third, Murray began chipping away with a break for 3-5 and then a subsequent break at love for 5-all. The pair then traded holds to get to the third tiebreak of the evening.

Murray had his share of opportunities in the match. He was down a break in the first but broke back as Mensik served for the opening set and went on to have two set points in the tiebreak.

The Scot botched an easy volley in the breaker, with Mensik serving at 4-6. He set the point up perfectly but inexplicably dunked the volley into the net. With the breeze picking up, he missed a forehand wide on the next point, then made another error off that wing to give Mensik set point.

The Czech made it count.

The second set went with the server and it was Murray who controlled the breaker, racing out to a 6-1 lead before converting his third set point to level at a set apiece.

The result was difficult for Murray to stomach, but it was a positive week. He falls to 1-5 on the season, after snapping his six-match losing streak against Alexandre Muller in the first round.

Ugo Humbert (d. Kotov 6-4, 6-1), Alexei Popyrin (d. Grenier 7-6(3), 6-7(8), 6-1), Alexander Bublik (d. Fucsovics 2-6, 6-3, 6-4), Emil Ruusuvuori (d. O’Connell 6-3, 6-3) and Karen Khachanov (d. Marozsan 6-4, 7-5) also powered into the quarterfinals on Wednesday in Doha.

With his victory, second-seeded Khachanov joined the ATP’s 250-win club.


Latest News