Karatsev ends Murray’s run to claim Sydney title

Published January 16, 2022
Aslan Karatsev of Russia celebrates with the trophy after winning against Andy Murray of Britain in the men's singles final match at the Sydney Classic tennis tournament in Sydney on January 15. — AFP
Aslan Karatsev of Russia celebrates with the trophy after winning against Andy Murray of Britain in the men's singles final match at the Sydney Classic tennis tournament in Sydney on January 15. — AFP
ADELAIDE: Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia kisses the court after winning the final of the Adelaide International against France’s Arthur Rinderknech on Saturday.—AFP
ADELAIDE: Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia kisses the court after winning the final of the Adelaide International against France’s Arthur Rinderknech on Saturday.—AFP

SYDNEY: Andy Murray’s impressive run ended one win short of a 47th career title when he lost the Sydney Tennis Classic final 6-3, 6-3 to top-seeded Aslan Karatsev on Saturday.

The 34-year-old Murray started the week with his first win on Australian soil in more than 1,000 days. The three-time major winner progressed through the rounds to reach his first final since 2019.

Karatsev, who reached the Australian Open semi-finals last year after going through qualifying for the season-opening major, was just too good.

“First time back in the finals for three years, its been a long road to get back here,” said Murray, a three-time major winner who has slid from number one to 135th in the rankings.

Murray, a five-time Australian Open finalist, received a wild-card entry for the Sydney tournament and beat Viktor Durasovic and 23rd-ranked Nikoloz Basilashvili, then Reilly Opelka in the semi-finals, raising expectations after recurring hip injuries limited him to playing only one of the past four Australian Opens.

Murray won’t have long to recover before he takes on Basilashvili again in the first round of the Australian Open.

The men’s title in Sydney was one of four awarded on Saturday as the tune-up series concluded ahead of the Australian Open, which begins Monday.

In the women’s final in Sydney, Paula Badosa claimed her third career title when she upset French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4).

In Adelaide, unseeded Madison Keys claimed her first WTA Tour singles title since 2019 when she beat Alison Riske 6-1, 6-2 in an all-American final, and Thanasi Kokkinakis claimed in his first ATP Tour title in front of his home fans by beating Arthur Rinderknech 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.

The 25-year-old Kokkinakis considered retirement after struggling with shoulder, chest, groin, knee and elbow injuries over five years. That’s off the radar, for now, after a run of eight wins in two weeks.

Kokkinakis will play qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in the first round of the Australian Open and could meet 20-time major winner Rafael Nadal in the second round.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2022

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