Murray downs angry Kyrgios; into Stuttgart final

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Andy Murray stormed to a 7-6(5), 6-2 straight sets victory over Nick Kyrgios in the semifinals of the Stuttgart Open on Saturday, reaching his second ATP final of the year and 70th of his career.

The 35-year-old Scot will face last year’s Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini on Sunday for a chance to win the 47th singles title of his career.

Murray and Kyrgios were tough to separate in the first set with the pair both comfortably holding serve, aside from two wasted break points from Kyrgios in the seventh game. A tiebreaker was required to decide the opening set, which Murray won 7-5.

“I was just a little bit more solid in the tiebreak, I made a lot of returns and asked the question of him in the tiebreak,” Murray said.

“These courts, when it’s playing quick like this, the sets come down to one or two points and I was a little bit more solid and secure in the end of the first set.

“Obviously, in the second set, Nick was very frustrated at the end of the first set and I didn’t have to work as hard but the first set was high quality.”

A frustrated Kyrgios broke his racket in anger and earned himself a point penalty after dropping the first set and he was still fuming when the second set got underway as double faults allowed Murray to break for the first time in the contest.

The Australian, who was constantly complaining to the umpire, then received a game penalty and he refused to continue playing, sitting in his chair until the supervisor came out and convinced him to finish the match.

But by then Kyrgios had lost his focus and made numerous errors as Murray quickly wrapped up the second set and sealed his spot in the final on his second match point when the Australian’s return found the net.

“You’re always kind of battling yourself as well as the opponent, it’s one of the difficult things about individual sports,” Murray added.

“Nick has the potential to be one of the best players in the world, there’s absolutely no question about that. But yeah, he obviously got very frustrated in the second set and made it a lot easier for me.

“But look, I’m happy to be in the final. I’ve played well this week and I’ve got a great opportunity against Matteo tomorrow.”

Murray’s only other final appearance this year came at the Sydney Open ahead of the Australian Open in January, but he was comfortably beaten by Aslan Karatsev.

His last singles title came at the Antwerp Open in 2019, months after undergoing hip surgery on an injury that almost caused him to retire.

Earlier on Saturday, Berrettini maintained his fine form on grass with a closely-fought 7-6(7), 7-6(5) victory over Germany’s Oscar Otte.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.

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