Andy Murray’s perfect record at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna came to an end at the hands of rising Spanish teenage star Carlos Alcaraz.
Alcaraz hit 27 winners to end Murray’s winning streak of nine matches, securing a 6-3 6-4 victory in a punishing contest lasting two hours and six minutes.
“It’s a great feeling to play against Andy Murray and to beat him. He played really, really well but I’m really happy for the performance today,” the 18-year-old Spaniard said.
“Indian Wells was the first time I meet Andy Murray on court so now I knew a little bit more about Andy Murray on court, his game. I just tried to play aggressive, don’t let him play his game.”
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Murray recorded his first top 10 win of the season when he came through a gruelling first-round encounter against Hubert Hurkacz and he came into his match with Alcaraz having already got the better of the teenage star at Indian Wells earlier this month.
But Alcaraz, the youngest player in the world’s top 100, had already dispatched British No 2 Dan Evans in his opening match, and he had revenge on his mind against the three-time Grand Slam champion.
He gave Murray a serious workout in a marathon opening game to make an early breakthrough.
From there, the match swayed from one game to the next with both players going at it toe-to-toe.
The Scot hit back for 2-2, although he required six break points to level it up. The opening four games lasted 34 minutes alone.
Murray was unable to hang on to his serve in the next game as Alcaraz struck back with his fifth break point chance before staving off two break points in his next service game to lead 4-2.
The young Spaniard, who captured his first ATP Tour title in July at the Croatia Open, went on to close out the set with a further break of serve after 65 minutes.
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Murray’s unblemished record in Vienna was coming under serious scrutiny from a player 16 years his junior.
At 3-1 up in the second set he looked comfortable, but the Spaniard began to apply pressure as Murray, currently world No 156, sank to his haunches following some more energy-sapping rallies.
After making it 4-4, Alcaraz held and then took his chance on Murray’s serve to make it through to the quarter-finals.
British No 1 Cameron Norrie, BNP Paribas Open winner in Indian Wells last week, faces Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round on Thursday.
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