Andy Murray’s bid to win the first title in more than two years ended with a loss to Russia’s Aslan Karatsev in the Sydney Classic. The three-time Grand Slam winner had his best week since winning his 46th career title in Antwerp in October 2019, but found himself decimated by Karatsev’s incredible strength.
The top seed crushed winners from across the court and took a 6-3, 6-3 victory for his third ATP Tour title.
Karatsev was one of the most surprising semi-finalists in history when he reached the semi-finals in Melbourne 12 months ago as an unannounced qualifier. But the 28-year-old, who previously spent his entire career in the lower rungs of the tennis circuit, has since proven he belongs at the top of the sport’s table, breaking into the top 20 and winning titles in Dubai and Moscow last year.
He defeated Dan Evans in the semi-finals in Sydney to block the first-ever ATP Finals entirely and break Murray in the first match. The Scotsman pushed for a low percentage of first serve in the first set, but Karatsev was outstanding, taking half his points with the winners and making only four fouls.
Murray trailed quickly in the second set as well and five break points in the fifth game proved his only chance to get back into the match.
The defeat means the 34-year-old also has to wait to get back into the top 100, but he can head to Melbourne with confidence for the Australian Open and a rematch with Nikoloz Basilashvili – who beat him in the second round this week – on Tuesday.
There was a title in Adelaide for Briton Neil Skopsky, who took back-to-back titles with his new Dutch partner, Wesley Kolhoff. The men’s singles title went to Australian Tanase Kokinakis, who has had injuries in recent years and delighted when he won his first major tour title in his home city, defeating France’s Arthur Rindernik 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5), 6- 3.
Madison Keys won her first silver title since 2019, beating Alisson Riske 6-1, 6-2 in the women’s event, while Karatsev’s victory was preceded by a stunning 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (4) win for Spain’s Paola. Badosa on the French Open champion, Barbora Krejsikova. Both will fantasize about their chances of success at the Australian Open.