Andy Murray’s hopes of a first ATP title in over two years were quashed by Aslan Karatsev in the final of the Sydney Tennis Classic.
The Russian, the No1 seed in the tournament, won his third ATP Tour title following a relatively comfortable 6-3, 6-3 win on Saturday.
That means Murray’s quest for a first silverware since he claimed his 46th career title in Antwerp in 2019 will continue until least until the Australian Open.
Andy Murray with the runners-up trophy in Sydney after his loss to Aslan Karatsev in the final
While the three-time Grand Slam winner is unlikely to triumph at Melbourne Park, his display in Sydney was arguably the best week of tennis he has produced since winning in Belgium.
There was plenty of praise for the Scotsman on social media, with fans full of admiration for Murray’s fighting spirit in his first final in almost three years.
‘Andy Murray is so obviously gutted at coming 2nd… but seriously what an absolute achievement to be in a final right before the Australian Open,’ one tweeted.
Murray was clearly unhappy at losing in his first ATP Tour final in almost three years
Fans praised Murray’s fighting spirit and described as a champion for so many people
One tennis fan said the three-time Grand Slam champion was a credit to himself
The sentiments were echoed by other fans, who described Murray as a champion for many and a credit to himself.
‘Andy Murray, well played. Amazing to get back to the higher levels after everything,’ one wrote. ‘You’ll get the negatives on here but you’re definitely the champ for so many people.’
Another added: ‘You are a credit to yourself and your family, great seeing you back playing competitive tennis, good luck at the [Australian] open next week, a tournament you deserve to win at least once.’
A fellow fan struck a similar tone: ‘Well done Andy Murray for reaching the final #SydneyTennis, Karatsev was just too good only one double fault all match and a wicked forehand.’
Fans praised Murray but also acknowledged Karatsev was too good for the Scotsman
Karatsev was a surprise semi-finalist at the Australian Open last year, when he reached the last four despite entering the tournament as a qualifier.
However, he has since won tournaments in Moscow and Dubai over the past 12 months and broke into the world’s top-20.
After Murray held his own against the Russian, some fans were hopeful the two-time Wimbledon champion can get even better and finally leave his injury problems behind him.
One fan congratulated Murray for making life difficult for the Russian in the final
Fans also praised Murray for playing ‘like a winner’ in the final against Karatsev in Sydney
‘Not an easy ride for Karatsev. Andy made him fight for it,’ one tweet read.
‘Great job Andy Murray! Absolutely brilliant to see you back in a Final. Onward and upward.’
Another added: ‘#AndyMurray played like a winner. Getting better and could win at Melbourne. Runner up this time. Great match.’
After the match, the 34-year-old fought back the tears as he thanked his family for their support on his ‘long road’ back to an ATP event final.
Murray was beaten by Karatsev in straight sets in the final of the Sydney Classic tournament
‘I’d like to congratulate Aslan on a fantastic week,’ he said.
‘I know he also arrived here late in Australia and is recovering from Covid so it’s all the more impressive to come back and play at that level. All the best for the Australian Open.
‘Thank you to my team for all their help this year. It’s my first time back in the finals for three years and it’s been a long road to get back here and I couldn’t have done it without your help.’