In front of a packed house, Frances Tiafoe held his nerve and his serve to oust three-time slam champion and two-time gold medalist Andy Murray 7-6, 6-3.
“I knew it was going to be a super fun one playing Andy,” said Tiafoe. “There was a lot of hype before the match. It’s not every day you get to play one of the best ever. It’s always an honor.”
The first set was a battle, and Murray held three set points at 5-4. A combination of errors from him and gutsy play from Tiafoe kept the Scotsman from converting. After getting the early mini-break in the tiebreaker, Tiafoe was able to swing the momentum in his direction.
“He had some good looks there to win that first set, and obviously it could have been a different match. I thought I played well, though. I played super tough and was able to get it done. The atmosphere was great tonight.”
Murray said the crowd was one of the few positives in the Tuesday night matchup and was frustrated at how he played in some key moments.
“It was extremely disappointing. In the first set I think I won 18% of second serve return points. I don’t know if that’s happened in my career before. I think that’s probably the lowest I’ve won in a 7-6 set.”
“Mentally, at the beginning of the second set, I was frustrated and annoyed with losing that set.”
Tiafoe saw the opportunity and broke early to go up 3-1. Murray continued to fight getting one of the two breaks back when Tiafoe served for the match at 5-1. He then held, forcing the 23-year-old to try to close it out again, which he did.
“It was a disappointing one to lose like last week [in Cincinnati],” said Murray. “The positive thing tonight was that I thought I moved well. Physically, I’m in a decent place. My level is just up and down. There is no real consistency there.”
What was steady tonight was the support from fans for both players.
“It’s been really nice to play in full crowds. It’s important for these events to get good crowds,” Murray said. “The first couple rounds been absolutely packed. Lots of fans. I enjoyed the atmosphere. They supported both players in each of the matches I’ve played here really, really well which was nice. They’ve done a great job with the tournament and getting people to come in. I wish I could have stayed a bit longer.”
“The fans are what it’s all about. I’m just glad they’re out there again. I want to win as much as the next person, but people pay their hard-earned money to watch us play. I feel like it’s our job to make sure they have fun,” added Tiafoe.
Tiafoe will get another chance on Wednesday night when he faces Brazil’s No. 1 in Thiag Monteiro who got passed lucky loser Eduardo Nava 7-5, 6-1.
That match holds the 7 p.m. slot on Stadium Court.
Play begins Wednesday at 3 p.m. with the tournament’s No. 1 seed Pablo Carreno Busta who will play Germany’s Dominik Koepfer.
Gates open for fans at 2 p.m