Two days after surviving three match points in his opening Doha win over Lorenzo Sonego, Andy Murray lived on the edge again Wednesday. And has another hard-fought win to show for it.

The former world No. 1 prevailed over Alexander Zverev at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, eliminating the No. 4 seed, 7-6 (5), 2-6, 7-5, after three hours and three minutes.

“Obviously I would like to win the matches quicker,” Murray said in an on-court interview. “Alex is a top player and a great competitor, he always fights right until the end. It’s one of his biggest strengths.”

The German was two points away from claiming victory when he held 15-30 and later deuce against Murray with a 5-4 lead in the final set. Murray asserted himself with deep hitting and aggressive positioning to come through the tense moments.

After leveling, he stayed locked in during a series of lengthy rallies, emerging as the stronger baseliner. Zverev pushed a backhand long to drop serve, as momentum shifted into Murray's hands at the crucial juncture of the clash. The German erased Murray’s first match point with a backhand volley winner, but couldn’t replicate that success on the ensuing point when he came forward, burned by a backhand passing shot to end the contest.

“The third set, I was really hanging on. He was creating more of the chances and was the better player for large parts of that,” said Murray. “I managed to stay strong, kept fighting, got the break at the end and closed it out well.”

Murray is seeking his first title since 2019 Antwerp.

Murray is seeking his first title since 2019 Antwerp.


This is Murray’s first tournament since his third-round appearance at the Australian Open. During the Melbourne major, Murray played 14 sets of tennis spanning 14 hours and three minutes before seeing his campaign ended by Roberto Bautista Agut. Before then, he had saved a match point against Matteo Berrettini and clawed back from two sets down and 5-3 in the third to topple Thanasi Kokkinakis.

In Thursday's quarterfinals, Murray—a two-time former champion—will meet qualifier Alexandre Muller. The Frenchman upset No. 8 seed Botic van de Zandschulp, 6-2, 6-4, saving all three break points he faced.

Joining in the battle-tested narrative, Andrey Rublev produced an inspiring comeback of his own. Tallon Griekspoor served for their second-round encounter at 5-4 in their deciding set, where he held three match points that included opening an initial 40-15 lead. Rublev, however, came through a 12-point game to break back.

In the winner-take-all tiebreaker, the world No. 5 avoided his own collapse when a 6-4 lead turned to 6-6. He finished off the Dutchman, 1-6, 6-1, 7-6 (6), to bounce back from last week's first-round loss to Alex de Minaur in Rotterdam.

Rublev will aim to take another step forward with a win over Australian Open quarterfinalist Jiri Lehecka. The Czech has posted a pair of straight-set wins over Damir Dzumhur and Emil Ruusuvuori en route to the last eight.

Second seed Felix Auger-Aliassime lined up a last-eight showdown with seventh seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina after winning his event debut. Auger-Aliassime overcame Jason Kubler, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.