Andy Murray vs Aslan Karatsev LIVE: British star steadies the ship after losing his FIRST service game… but the ex-Wimbledon still trails the Russian top seed in his first ATP Tour final since 2019
Murray, who has endured years of injury woe, will compete in his first showpiece match since the 2019 European Open, where he beat Stan Wawrinka to win his only singles trophy since undergoing hip surgery in January 2019.
Victory in Sydney would be the ideal preparation for the Australian Open – which starts on Monday – but he faces a tough assignment against Karatsev, who prevented Dan Evans from setting up the first all-British final at ATP Tour level.
Follow Sportsmail’s Oli Gamp for live coverage of Andy Murray vs Aslan Karatsev in the Sydney Tennis Classic final, including build-up and game-by-game updates.
Murray showing great spirit with a nice forehand cross-court shot that catches out Karatsev, who later fires a forehand right to the edge of the tramline that just goes out.
The Russian gets a point back before Murray aces again for 40-15… and his next serve forces him to fire well out. Staying in this one still!
A famous ‘come on’ from Murray as Karatsev’s first shot goes wayward, then having to work very hard indeed as Karatsev pings several shots into the corners – the final one being too much for him despite a handful of impressive slice returns – then antother forehand beats him at the corner for 30-15.
Karatsev then goes for his forehand with power, with Murray hitting the net. Then a superb serve and volley sees him wrap it up.
Karatsev is testing Murray’s back hand then pressing forward on the volley – Murray gets past him and curls a forehand down his left.
He follows up with an ace for 30-0 – then balloons a shot out after a let, then second serve. But then he comes up with ANOTHER ace for 40-15.
And then a double fault! 40-30… and then next one is place brilliantly into the corner, then fired back to the opposite corner for game!
Tell you what, if Murray can get a bit more consistent with his service game, he has every chance of winning this.
Murray looking to work the angles but a backhand eventually goes out following a good exchange, then it’s Karatsev’s turn to fire wide from a similar position.
Karatsev quickly moves to 40-15 after a winner and then unstoppable ace – then game as his monster serve goes right in the corner and Murray has no answer to it. Just as good as an ace.
Karatsev looks like he has Murray on toast after forcing him to send back a lob that the Russian just has to poke over the net – but he skews it into his own court.
He then fires a forehand wide, and Murray follows up with a brilliant ace for 40-0.
Murray’s next serve is nearly as good and Karatsev’s return clips the top of the net before going out. Back in it!
Quickly firing his way to 30-0, Karatsev, after two powerful forehand winners – his strong serve is really testing Murray and forcing him out wide.
Murray’s returning being tested here as his next shot goes out past the baseline for 40-0, and then clips the net and it’s 2-0 in the blink of an eye. Work to do here.
MURRAY BROKEN EARLY!
Karatsev plays a beautiful drop shot right in front of the net to the right of the court to send Murray charging forwards – but he can’t quite get a clean connection on it – quick 0-15 for the Russian – then double faults for 0-30. Not the best start.
Karatsev hits a backhand straight down the tramlines to give him hope but then hits a brilliant shot down the line for two break points. Another shot from the Russian clips the back of the baseline and just over the line before a forehand goes wayward to take it to deuce.
Murray’s first serve isn’t quite happening as he relies on his second serve again and Karatsev hits a sweet forehand right in the corner for advantage. Then after some back and forth shots he forces him into a awkward position – scooping a shot into the air before it bobbles into the net and Karatsev breaks.
Umpire gives the players a 30 second warning before we get play going.
He’s won the coin toss and elects to serve, as both players start warming up
Murray on his way out into the arena first up, followed by his Russian opponent Karatsev.
She’s beaten Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 in a thrilling finish to emerge victorious – great match that, and we should have Murray and Karatsev coming up any minute now.
Remember, you can watch this match free of charge on the BBC website, app or iPlayer.
Perfect chance for tennis lovers to rekindle their love of watching Andy Murray play. Coverage hasn’t kicked off yet but it’s coming up very soon.
You have to go back to October 2019 for the last time Murray was in an ATP Tour final, where he beat Stanislas Wawrinka at the European Open in Antwerp.
He won 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, his first tiitle since undergoing his career-changing hip surgery at the beginning of that year.
In other news as we wait for the big match, Australian John Peers and Slovakia’s Filip Polasek have won the men’s doubles in Sydney after beating Italians Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini.
The women’s final between Barbora Krejcikova and Paula Badosa is still ongoing and in the deciding set, so Murray and Karatsev will be on in a short while.
We had been licking our lips in anticipation of an all-British final, with Dan Evans having the chance to set up an incredible clash against Murray – but fell to a 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 defeat against Russian Karatsev.
It wasn’t without controversy either, with the British man letting rip at the umpire and officials in Sydney after Karatsev took a five-minute bathroom break.
He said they were a ‘f***ing embarrassment to the sport’ in a furious tirade as Karatsev kept his composure and made it through to face Murray.
After going a set down against the American – following a nail-biting tie-breaker – the 34-year-old battled hard to win the next two sets 6-4, 6-4 after some consistent serving and even better returning to set up a final with Karatsev.
Are you ready for an Andy Murray final? We haven’t had too many recently but the three-time Grand Slam winner is in his first showpiece on the ATP Tour since 2019 after beating Reilly Opelka in three sets at the Sydney Tennis Classic. Aslan Karatsev is now all that stands in his way of a first accolade for three years.
After Murray had major hip surgery at the start of January, his career looked to be over – before making a stunning comeback, and while he hasn’t hit the previous heights of when he was British No 1 and formerly world No 1, it’s great to see him back with a chance of winning a tournament.
All the action here is due to get underway at around 8am GMT.