Two and a half years ago, world no. 1 Andy Murray lost to Stan Wawrinka in a thrilling semi-final at Roland Garros that lasted for more than four and a half hours. At that moment, no one could have thought that would be Andy's last ATP semi-final until the closing stages of 2019, struggling with a hip injury and undergoing two surgeries to take the pain away and start competing again.
For the first time since that Parisian campaign, Andy is in the last four at one ATP event, defeating Marius Copil 6-3, 6-7, 6-4 in two hours and 35 minutes for the eighth victory of the season and the seventh in the previous five weeks.
In Washington last year, Andy and Marius had battled for three hours and until 3 am, with another grueling clash between these two today in Antwerp despite a significant 6-3, 5-2 lead for Murray who could have sealed the deal much earlier.
Instead of that, Copil bounced back to steal the second set in the tie break before Andy crossed the finish line with a single break in the deciding set. The Briton played well on serve, facing four break chances in the entire clash and suffering only two breaks, not enough for Marius to move over the top as he had to defend 14 break opportunities despite 20 aces on his tally, suffering five breaks to push Andy into the last four.
Murray grabbed the first break in the very first game of the match thanks to a loose forehand from Copil who broke back in the fourth game to level the score at 2-2. Andy was the better player in the rest of the set, moving 3-2 up with another break and sealing the opener with a new break in the ninth game after a forehand down the line winner.
It was all about Andy in the second set as well, dropping three points in the first five service games and securing the break with a smash winner in game four. The Romanian had to dig deep in the sixth game to remain within one break, fending off four break chances and gathering energy that carried him towards a break at 15 in game nine when Andy served for the victory!
The set went into a tie break and Copil saved a match point at 6-7, prevailing 9-7 after a backhand error from Murray to send the clash into a decider. Leaving the setback behind him instantly, Andy delivered five comfortable holds in the final sets and making a crucial move with a backhand drive-volley at 4-4 that earned a break for him, crossing the finish line with an ace in game ten to stay on the title course.