Tennis-Krejcikova, Murray fight back to book spots in Sydney final

Written by on January 14, 2022

January 14, 2022

SYDNEY (Reuters) -French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova showed her resilience to overcome a poor opening set and hand Anett Kontaveit a 0-6 6-4 7-6 (12) defeat on Friday to advance to the final of the Sydney Tennis Classic.

Krejcikova lost the opener to love but bounced back to see off the world number seven and set up a meeting with either Paula Badosa or Daria Kasatkina in the final of the Australian Open warm-up event.

The Czech, ranked number four in the world, needed a lengthy tie breaker to see off Kontaveit, winning the final game 14-12 when she converted match point at the fifth attempt.

“She started really well and was hitting the ball really hard,” said Krejcikova.

“I felt she was playing really aggressive. I had to find a plan B and I’m really happy I found a plan B.”

The Estonian held a 4-0 lead and extended her advantage further when she saved another break point in the fifth game to underline her early dominance, before closing out the set.

Stung by that heavy opening loss, Krejcikova upped the pressure in the second set, which paid off when a cross-court winner gave Krejcikova her long-awaited break in the ninth game and from there she levelled the score.

Both players broke serve early in the decider before the Czech finally prevailed after the pair spurned several match-winning opportunities each to progress to Saturday’s showpiece.

In the ATP 250 event at the same venue, former world number one Andy Murray fought back from a set down to beat American fourth seed Reilly Opelka 6-7(6) 6-4 6-4 and book a spot in his first final since winning in Antwerp in 2019.

After a close first set which went to a tiebreaker, Murray broke early in the second set and rode on his lead to claim the set 6-4.

Murray carried his momentum into the deciding set, breaking Opelka’s serve again to take a 5-4 lead before securing victory with a composed love hold.

“I lost a tight first set and it’s not easy to come back against someone who serves like that, but I kept working and taking opportunities,” said Murray, who could lift his 47th title on the ATP tour with a win in the final on Saturday.

“Returning has always been a strong part of my game, and I used it well today.

“It would be amazing to start the year with a trophy, but it’s already been a big week for me, to string four results together like this is much more than I managed last year.”

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Robert Birsel and Clarence Fernandez)

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