Murray Seals Surbiton Challenger SF Spot

The 36-year-old will next meet defending champion Thompson
June 09, 2023
Andy Murray in action during Friday's quarter-finals at the Lexus Surbiton Trophy.
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Andy Murray in action during Friday's quarter-finals at the Lexus Surbiton Trophy. By ATP Staff

Andy Murray rallied from a set down Friday amidst difficult conditions to book his ticket into the semi-finals at the ATP Challenger Tour 125 event in Surbiton.

The Scot survived Australian Jason Kubler 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 after two hours, six minutes at the Lexus Surbiton Trophy. Murray sent the World No. 69 on the run behind the baseline and mixed in variety, displaying his fair share of slice and drop shots, to reach the last four.

“Really hard conditions today, a lot of wind gusts, but I did well to finish it off,” Murray said in his post-match interview. “I played some good tennis when I needed to. It was a match where you just need to try and find a way to get through, not so much about the quality of the tennis.”

Kubler, who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon last year, received treatment on his back at 0-3 in the decider. Despite breaking Murray’s serve the following game, the three-time major champion held on to set a semi-final clash against the defending champion, Jordan Thompson, who ousted Rinky Hijikata 7-6(1), 6-2.

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Murray is aiming for a second Challenger title this year. Last month, the former World No. 1 captured the Challenger 175 crown in Aix-en-Provence, France, where he defeated Tommy Paul in the final. The 36-year-old’s triumph was his first title at any level since 2019.

This year, the ATP Challenger Tour announced the all-new 175 events which are held during the second week of select ATP Master 1000 tournaments, and have drawn appearances from several Top 40 stars.

“A lot of the Challengers now, there are more points up to offer at a lot of them so the draws tend to be stronger,” Murray said. “Now you also have the 175s, where the draws are more like 250 events. I feel like the level has improved, more players pick up points in these events. You see here, there’s [11] Top 100 players here [in Surbiton] and a few pulled out as well, so I feel like the level has improved.”

Thompson, who is an 11-time ATP Challenger Tour champion, defeated Murray at the ATP 500 event at Queen’s Club in 2017. The 29-year-old will aim to upset the home favourite again during Saturday’s action.

In the top half of the draw, Jurij Rodionov will contest Zizou Bergs for a spot in the final. The Austrian Rodionov cruised past Gabriel Diallo 6-4, 6-4 in the quarters while Bergs ousted sixth seed Constant Lestienne 7-6(2), 6-3. 

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