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Andy Murray beats Reilly Opelka to reach Sydney Tennis Classic final but Dan Evans out

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Published in Tennis
Friday, 14 January 2022 05:10

Britain's Andy Murray reached his first ATP Tour final since 2019 with a three-set win over Reilly Opelka at the Sydney Tennis Classic.

The 34-year-old fought back from a set down to beat the 25th-ranked American 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-4.

Murray let out a roar of triumph after converting his first match point.

Compatriot Dan Evans was unable to set up the first all-British final at ATP Tour level after losing to Russian top seed Aslan Karatsev in the semi-final.

Saturday's final will be shown live on BBC iPlayer, red button and BBC Sport website and app from 0800 GMT.

Third seed Evans, 31, lost 6-3 6-7 (13-15) 6-3 to the 28-year-old, ending the Briton's hopes of securing his second ATP Tour title.

He saved three match points before going on to win an epic second-set tie-break but was then furious about a bathroom break taken by Karatsev.

Evans was broken in the first game of the deciding set and Karatsev then disappeared for five minutes.

In an expletive-laden outburst, the Briton accused the umpire of failing to apply the ATP rules, which allow players a maximum of three minutes once they have entered the toilet.

Those who are changing their clothes are allowed an additional two minutes.

Murray chasing 47th title

It is the first final Murray has reached since the 2019 European Open, where he claimed an emotional victory over Stan Wawrinka.

That was Murray's 46th ATP title and is his only singles trophy since he had career-saving hip surgery in January 2019.

"It would be amazing to start the year with a trophy, but it's already been a big week for me," Murray said in his on-court interview.

"To string four results together like this is much more than I managed last year."

Murray is preparing for the Australian Open, starting on Monday, where he will play Georgian 21st seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round.

He is now ranked 135 in the world after struggling with niggling injuries in the past two years but has moved well in all of his matches in Sydney.

Murray was visibly frustrated after fighting back from 5-1 down in the first set tie-break to draw level at 6-6, only to lose it 8-6 against the big-serving Opelka.

However, his return was excellent as he broke Opelka early in the second set to eventually force a decider.

Murray could not convert four break points on the Opelka serve before he eventually found a way through and served out the match to love.

"I lost a tight first set and it's not easy to come back against someone who serves like that, but I love competing," Murray added.

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