LONDON, November 19, 2016
Andy Murray is the first player to reach the title match of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, as he battled past fourth seed Milos Raonic, rallying 5-7, 7-6, 7-6.
Raonic, who lost the past seven meetings against the Briton, including five this season, was very solid from the baseline, hitting 15 winners in the first set. The 25-year-old Canadian broke serve in the 11th game to serve out in the following to secure the opener after 58 minutes.
The 25-year-old Canadian also set the tone early in the second set, getting the break in the third game. But Murray fought back, gained the re-break to love and emerged victorious from an exciting tie-break, winning 7-5. After two hours and 18 minutes, the encounter was pushed to a decider.
Raonic denied Murray twice when he served for the match, and then saved three set match points in the tie-break, missed one of his own and the World No. 1 sealed the breaker 11-9 after three hours and 38 minutes, the longest encounter in the history of the ATP World Tour Finals.
“I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow. Obviously tired just now because it was a really hard match. It wasn’t just that it was physically hard, it was mentally a tough match, too. It was pretty stressful. I was quite far behind obviously in the second set. A set and a break down, managed to turn it round. Then it was back and forth in the third set. The physical side, obviously the body is a bit sore after such a long match, but mentally it was tiring, too,” told Murray after reaching his first title match at the season finale.
“I think it was pretty dramatic. Both of us had chances. In the tiebreak, I think we played some pretty good stuff. I don’t think it was, like, bad points that we were losing or bad shots we were losing. I mean, it was one of the tougher matches I played this year. For sure it was not easy, for the reasons I gave, obviously with it being very long, but also mentally tiring as well.”
Murray now needs to recover as quick as possible in order to get fit for Sunday’s title match.
“I did an ice bath, stretched, had a massage from my physio. I’ll do a little bit more stuff tonight when I get back to the hotel. I stayed at home a few nights. If I played a late match, I would stay at the hotel. I don’t know exactly for tomorrow. I’m practicing I think about 2:30. I don’t know what I’ll do yet in the morning. I’ll try and probably sleep as late as possible.”
Raonic attended his press conference with red eyes and little bit of coughing, but he was still pleased with his performance.
“Today I really tried to, in the best way possible, leave it all out there. I turned it around for myself twice there at the end of the third. I turned it around for myself almost there in the tiebreak. I just did everything I could, everything that was within me, at least to really try to win. It’s that simple,” the World No. 4 told.
“This has been the best match I’ve ever competed. I don’t know necessarily playing-wise. I don’t think I necessarily served phenomenal throughout the match, these kinds of things. But the way I was constantly trying to stay positive, keep my energy up, trying to fight through, that’s definitely the most significant thing I’ve done today.”