DOHA – Battle-hardened former world No. 1 Andy Murray staged a defiant fightback on Thursday to beat French qualifier Alexandre Muller 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 to book a place in the Qatar Open semi-finals, and declared himself ready to win another title before he retires.
The Scot, 35, took on 21-year-old Jiri Lehecka in their last-four tie on Friday, with the Czech powerhitter also coming back from a set down to overcome top seeded Russian Andrey Rublev.
Regardless of his result and whether he makes the final, Murray is expecting more tough matches in 2023 but is still confident of his chances against the new generation.
“I would like to have quicker matches but sometimes it happens this way and I am sure that is not going to continue throughout the rest of the season,” he said of losing the first set.
The three-time Grand Slam champion said each win made him more confident.
“I would love to win one (title), but I have goals to achieve more than that. I am putting myself in a position now to do that going into the last couple of matches,” he added.
“I feel like these last few weeks are a step in the right direction and if I continue to play and compete like I am now, that I will have not just one opportunity to win a title but I will have more chances to do that in this last stage of my career.”
After losing the first set, Murray produced a masterclass to wrap up the next two and reach his first ATP semi-final since Stuttgart last June.
He has had a gruelling time in Doha, where he is a two-time winner but a wild card in 2023.
He saved three match points before beating Italian Lorenzo Sonego in a tie-break in the first round.
Against fourth seed Alexander Zverev of Germany, Murray was two points from defeat in the deciding third set before surging back.
Elsewhere, world No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz beat 86th-ranked Fabio Fognini of Italy in a thriller to advance to the quarter-finals of the Rio Open.
The 19-year-old Spaniard also battled back after losing the first set, going on to win 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-4.
“It’s a challenge facing a player like Fabio. He’s a great player with a lot of talent. You never know what he might have in store for you,” Alcaraz said after the dramatic duel.
His display fired up the crowd and he was grateful for their support.
“You energised both Fabio and me from the start, thank you so much. We played a great match. I’m very happy I managed to win,” he told the fans.
Alcaraz will next face Dusan Lajovic of Serbia for a place in the last four. AFP