Andy Murray wins European Open title in Antwerp
"This is one of the biggest wins that I've had after everything so I'm very proud"
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 21/10/19 10:55am
Andy Murray has won his first ATP Tour-level title since 2017 after a thrilling final against Stan Wawrinka at the European Open in Antwerp.
The 32-year-old came from a set and a break down to secure the match 3-6 6-4 6-4, showing no signs of fatigue despite a gruelling schedule this week and with the final lasting two hours and 29 minutes.
The contest saw both men produce outstanding tennis and the Scot's resilience was clear as he weathered the early dominance of Wawrinka and kept his composure.
The title marks a significant moment in his singles comeback following his career-saving hip resurfacing surgery in January and his return to singles action in August.
I think it was a great match, Stan was playing unbelievable, hitting winners from all over the court. I just managed to hang in a bit at the end of the second set and the third set was extremely close again. I didn't expect to be in this position so I'm very happy. This is one of the biggest wins that I've had after everything so I'm very proud.
Murray arrived at the final having come from a set down to beat Ugo Humbert 3-6 7-5 6-2 in the last four on Saturday and having endured an equally lengthy quarter-final against Marius Copil.
Early on, it looked as if Wawrinka would spoil Murray's potential dream finish to the week as he displayed exceptional power across the court and the precision to clean the lines, particularly with his distinctive single-handed backhand.
Wawrinka's potent combination saw him accelerate out and take the first set with conviction. He continued on the same course at the start of the second and created a 3-1 advantage for himself.
However, the Swiss player could not quite sustain the level he had set for himself and, when he dipped, Murray showed his competitive instinct to pounce.
I think that the tennis world, including me, were really sad in Australia when you had the press conference after your match. To see you back at this level and what you have achieved after the surgery with your team is amazing. So we’re all really happy, even if I’m sad to lose today, I’m really happy to see you back at that level. You’re an amazing champion and you deserve that.
As Wawrinka's first-serve percentage wavered, the Scot put together a decisive run of games to drive 4-3 ahead in the second set, forcing his opponent to start to question himself just slightly.
The sharp and roaring Murray was back with a vengeance and he converted the first set point that he created to push the final into a third set.
The deciding set was a tense battle of wills. Both players were clearly spurred on by the joy of being back on court fully fit and the result of that was an arm-wrestle.
In the end, it was Murray's sustained pressure that forced key errors off the racket of Wawrinka and when his Championship point arrived, he quickly took it and wept with joy afterwards.
Murray will now take a brief break from tennis as he returns home to his wife Kim who is about to give birth to their third child.
His Grand Slam return has already been confirmed for the Australian Open in January, prior to that both the Davis Cup and ATP Cup may well be on the cards too.