Tommy Paul battled past a determined Andy Murray for a place in the last four of the Stockholm Open on Thursday. The 24-year-old ranked 52 in the world, beat the former world number one 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
Murray, still on the comeback trail after major hip surgery, had been hoping to reach his first semi-final since he captured the European Open title in October 2019.
Paul will face fellow American Frances Tiafoe in Friday’s semi-final.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Paul, who reached the Emilia-Romagna Open semi-finals in May. “He is a legend. I played some of my best tennis today and I even looked over at my coach mid-match and thought it was fun to battle him today.
“It was the game plan to keep him running after his long match [against Jannik Sinner] yesterday. I tried to keep him running. I played tight and stuck to my game plan in the third set.”
Paul played almost faultless tennis in the first set. The 24-year-old opened up a 4-1 advantage with strong serves and deep returns. Murray recovered one break, but Paul tightened up his game to secure the 46-minute opener.
The American relied too much on his second serve in the second set, with his first-serve percentage plummeting to 33 percent. Murray broke for a 4-2 lead and later recovered from 0/30 when he served for the 50-minute set.
Murray hit a double fault to hand Paul a 4-3 advantage in the decider and the World No. 53 went on to complete his 23rd match win of the year. Murray had been hoping to reach his first semi-final since he captured the 2019 European Open title in October 2019.
Earlier in the day, Tiafoe booked his place in his second ATP Tour semi-final in three weeks. The eighth-seeded American, who reached the recent Erste Bank Open final in Vienna (l. to Zverev), struck 11 aces to knock out fourth-seeded Briton Daniel Evans 1-6, 6-1, 6-1 in one hour and 47 minutes.