Tommy Paul says he “played some of my best tennis” to battle past Andy Murray for a place in the Stockholm Open semi-finals on Thursday night.
The American lost just six first-service points to beat former World No. 1 Murray 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours and 16 minutes. Paul will next meet fellow American Frances Tiafoe.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Paul, who reached the Emilia-Romagna Open semi-finals in May. “He is a legend. I played some of my best tennis today and I even looked over at my coach mid-match and thought it was fun to battle him today.
“It was the game plan to keep him running after his long match [against Jannik Sinner] yesterday. I tried to keep him running. I played tight and stuck to my game plan in the third set.”
Tiafoe beat Paul 7-5, 7-6(4) in their only ATP Head2Head meeting in February 2020 at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com.
FOLLOW THIS WEEK’S ACTION
Paul played almost faultless tennis in the first set. The 24-year-old opened up a 4-1 advantage with strong serves and deep returns. Murray recovered one break, but Paul tightened up his game to secure the 46-minute opener.
The American relied too much on his second serve in the second set, with his first-serve percentage plummeting to 33 per cent. Murray broke for a 4-2 lead and later recovered from 0/30 when he served for the 50-minute set.
Murray hit a double fault to hand Paul a 4-3 advantage in the decider and the World No. 53 went on to complete his 23rd match win of the year. Murray had been hoping to reach his first semi-final since he captured the 2019 European Open title in October 2019.
Felix Celebrates 100th Match Win, Reaches Stockholm SFs
Earlier in the day, Tiafoe booked his place in his second ATP Tour semi-final in three weeks. The eighth-seeded American, who reached the recent Erste Bank Open final in Vienna (l. to Zverev), struck 11 aces to knock out fourth-seeded Briton Daniel Evans 1-6, 6-1, 6-1 in one hour and 47 minutes.