Denis Shapovalov shatters Andy Murray’s Wimbledon dreams with straight sets victory

Andy Murray’s Wimbledon comeback ended in the third round with a straight-sets defeat by Denis Shapovalov.

By Eleanor Crooks
Friday, 2nd July 2021, 11:04 pm
Goodbye, for now:  Andy Murray waves to the crowd after his third-round defeat against Denis Shapovalov on day five of Wimbledon. Picture: Adam Davy/PA.
Goodbye, for now: Andy Murray waves to the crowd after his third-round defeat against Denis Shapovalov on day five of Wimbledon. Picture: Adam Davy/PA.

By winning back-to-back matches at a grand slam for the first time since his hip problems started in 2017, the two-time Wimbledon champion had Centre Court dreaming of home glories once again.

But 10th seed Shapovalov was a step up from Nikoloz Basilashvili and Oscar Otte, and Murray was comfortably beaten 6-4 6-2 6-2 to complete a miserable day for British players on Centre following Dan Evans’s loss to Sebastian Korda.

That means Cameron Norrie, who takes on Roger Federer today, is once again flying the British flag solo for the men, with Emma Raducanu the only home woman left in the singles draw.

Hard to take: Andy Murray reacts during his third round defeat against Denis Shapovalov on day five of Wimbledon. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

Murray spoke after his five-set win over Otte on Wednesday about how slippery he had found Centre Court, and he changed his shoes after falling twice in the opening two games here.

Extra grip did not translate to any kind of hold on the match, though, as Shapovalov drove vicious groundstrokes deep into the court, exploiting his opponent’s lack of weight of shot, to move into a 5-1 lead.

From there Murray mounted a comeback, hitting through the ball better and putting doubt in the mind of Shapovalov, who missed one chance to serve it out and then found himself coming under intense pressure the second time.

Murray had three chances to get back to 5-5 but the 22-year-old Canadian held firm each time, saving the third with a superb stop volley.

Shapovalov has long been regarded as one of the most exciting young talents in the game, with his explosive one-handed backhand and all-court game.

The Canadian won the junior title at the All England Club in 2016, the same year Murray lifted the men’s trophy for the second time.

The momentum going into the second set appeared to favour Murray but again he made a bad start, dropping serve with a double fault and then going a double break down.

The 34-year-old was pulling off some fine shots but not consistently while his movement simply was not sharp enough to keep him in long rallies.

Murray tried to stage another comeback but Shapovalov, who fell over numerous times on the slick surface, saved a succession of break points at 1-4 and had no problems serving out the set this time.

That was the cue for the closing of the roof, which had been the catalyst for Murray to turn things around against Basilashvili and Otte, but it was a very different story this time, with Shapovalov racing through the third set to set up a fourth-round clash against eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

The Centre Court crowd tried to pull Murray back into the contest but this was Shapovalov’s night, the Scot offering a lingering wave as he headed off the stage.

Evans was disappointed he could not deliver a telling Centre Court performance as his Wimbledon third-round hoodoo continued.

The British No 1 has never made it to the second week at his home grand slam and fell at this stage for the third time after a 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 loss on the main show court to upcoming American Korda.

Evans, who also went out in the third round in 2016 and 2019, will be frustrated by this defeat as several net cords went against him at key moments, but he lost to a 20-year-old who looks destined for the top.

“It’s disappointing really,” the 31-year-old said. “It’s an amazing court to play on, great atmosphere, but I didn’t get my game on the court.

“All credit to him, he played some strong tennis.

“He’s obviously going to be a very good player. So it was not a great day.

“I’m massively appreciative of the All England Club for putting me on Centre.

“It would have been easy to put me on Court One or whatever other court.

“I really enjoyed the atmosphere. It was great.”

Jamie Murray’s pursuit of a first men’s doubles title at Wimbledon got under way with a win as he and Bruno Soares beat Nicholas Monroe and Vasek Pospisil in the first round.

Murray and the Brazilian, reunited for a second stint together, won 6-1 6-7 (5) 6-1 on Court 14.