Andy Murray has sent the tennis world into meltdown after saving five match points to beat Jiri Lehecka and storm into the final in Doha. Murray was down 3-5 in the third set, but pulled off one of the most extraordinary comebacks of his career to prevail 6-0 3-6 7-6 (8-6).
Serving at 3-5, the 35-year-old had to save two match points before Lehecka moved 40-0 up on his own serve in the next game. But Murray somehow managed to fight off all three match points to level the set at 5-5, before beating a shell-shocked Lehecka in the tiebreak.
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"I don't know, that was one of the most amazing turnarounds I've had in my career," the Scot said on Amazon Prime. "I knew it was his first time serving for a final so I had to keep the pressure on because I know how difficult it can be to serve matches like that out, but I have no idea how I managed to turn that one around."
Murray has now reached the final of the Qatar Open a record five times, winning the title twice. He will play Daniil Medvedev in the final after the Russian beat Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4 7-6 (9-7) in the other semi-final.
"This tournament has had many great players - (Roger) Federer, (Andy) Roddick, (Rafael) Nadal and Novak (Djokovic)," Murray said. "Those guys have obviously achieved a lot more than me so this is maybe one small win I can have over them."
Murray said he'd taken a lot out of some narrow defeats last season, adding: "One of the great things about the scoring system in this sport is things can change very quickly. I had multiple conversations with my team in the middle to the end part of last year, and I lost lots of close matches.
"I said, 'As soon as I start winning some, then that's going to change quickly because of the law of averages, really, like I couldn't keep losing that many matches'. If I kept working hard and kept improving just a little bit, then those matches would change. So I'm glad that I was right with that, and I hope it continues."
Tennis world in disbelief over Andy Murray victory
Murray played two brutal five-set matches at the Australian Open in January, and has played another 12 sets in Doha this week. His win over 21-year-old Lehecka came after another two-and-a-half hours on the court.
"I feel all right just now although obviously the adrenaline is pumping after a match like that," he said. "I'm sure there'll be a bit of fatigue tomorrow but I have a great team behind me. My physio has a job on his hands tonight."
If Murray beats Medvedev in the final it will be his first ATP title since Antwerp in October 2019, and a second since undergoing career-saving hip surgery. Fans and commentators were left gobsmacked by his comeback on Friday, with one TV commentator describing it as a 'miracle'.
It’s just incredible! Andy Murray comes back from 3-5 down and 4-5 0-40 down in the 3rd set, saving a total of FIVE match points to beat the in form Jiri Lehecka 0-6, 6-3, 7-6(6) to reach the final in Doha.
5th final in Doha
1st final since June
3rd win from MPs down in 2023 pic.twitter.com/YGaJ0rdvIW
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) February 24, 2023
Andy @andy_murray is such a beast. Never gives up. A joy to watch!
— Leo (@leonardorb) February 24, 2023
Metal hip, ice in his veins, big heart. This is Andy Murray!
— Marcela Linhares (@ma__linharess) February 24, 2023
Good old Andy ! What a legend
— GPNGreggs 💙 🇺🇦 🇾🇪 🇵🇸 (@AnnGreggsRN) February 24, 2023
This guy is incredible ! 💪🏼🎾
— Louis H. (@LouisH2007) February 24, 2023
Did he win with the passing shot or was the volley wide? Presumably the latter as Lehecka seemed to stop. @andy_murray is remarkable.
— Nick Hatton (@nickmhatton) February 24, 2023
Andy Murray won ALL of these matches within the space of 38 days. 🐐 pic.twitter.com/4QHEoj5zKB
— Rush 🐠 (@drivevolleys) February 24, 2023
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) February 24, 2023
ANDY MURRAY WOW. that final point was insane! not to mention saving all those MPs from 40-0. 🔥
— LV (@tokensoutherner) February 24, 2023
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