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Karatsev beats Brit tennis icon Murray to win title (VIDEO)

Russian tennis star Aslan Karatsev has won a title ahead of his attempt to repeat his 2021 heroics at the Australian Open

Aslan Karatsev breezed past three-time major winner Andy Murray to win the Sydney Tennis Classic – giving the Russian a huge boost ahead of a Grand Slam at which he was only beaten by champ Novak Djokovic in the 2021 semifinals.

In a triumphant first meeting with Murray, world number 20 Karatsev produced a near-perfect performance to earn the third title of a career that has sprung into sensational form during the last two years.

Karatsev made a dream start to the meeting, breaking Murray immediately and holding his first service game to love.

The 28-year-old broke Murray again at the end of the opening stanza to take the first set 6-3, then went 3-0 up at the start of the second.

Flying out of the blocks ⚡️@AsKaratsev takes the first set 6-3 vs Murray in the #SydneyTennis final! pic.twitter.com/89A09ORstq

— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) January 15, 2022

Aslan doing Aslan things 🤩@AsKaratsev #SydneyTennis pic.twitter.com/ulVYTBFrg4

— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) January 15, 2022

The fifth game of that set was telling, taking 13 minutes for Karatsev to hold his serve and survive five break points to surge 4-1 ahead.

By that stage, both players were covered in sweat, with Karatsev calling for more water and Murray, who had been increasingly animated on court, looking drained as the familiar refrain of Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ rang out around the arena.

Tell us Andy Murray is playing without telling us Andy Murray is playing 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

🎶 @andy_murray #SydneyTennis pic.twitter.com/W5DLnliiyq

— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) January 15, 2022

We’ve all been there 😫#SydneyTennis pic.twitter.com/UBK64bga5U

— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) January 15, 2022

A boisterous crowd featured a raft of Great British and Scottish flags, with some supporters donning face paints and fancy dress nodding to Murray’s homeland.

The five-time Australian Open finalist was in his first final since 2019 but never seriously threatened to beat Karatsev despite showing plenty of spirit throughout the match.

The Andy Murray game: Is he happy or really angry ?#SydneyTennis pic.twitter.com/D9NITLFt2V

— Tennis GIFs 🎾🎥 (@tennis_gifs) January 15, 2022

Okay, it’s time pic.twitter.com/oPuMsFo2de

— Out Of Context Karatsev (@OOC_Karatsev) January 15, 2022

With his t-shirt drenched in sweat, Murray pushed Karatsev at 5-3, saving two match points including a double fault from his Moscow-born opponent.

Karatsev then returned to top gear to serve out the final two points from deuce and give himself reason to believe that he could challenge again when the Australian Open begins on January 17.

Despite being unknown to most fans before last year’s edition, ATP Most Improved Player 2021 Karatsev went on a remarkable run that only ended when he lost to champion Djokovic in the final four.

Hitting those sexy winners without any warning 🥵 pic.twitter.com/cF45blmBkD

— Out Of Context Karatsev (@OOC_Karatsev) January 15, 2022

Karatsev has added some nice variety in his game now too. He could always take the ball super early on both wings but now he’s added a short BH to his arsenal too. Mixing in some cat and mouse play, bringing Murray forward & actually coming out on top getting the ball by him.

— Vansh (@vanshv2k) January 15, 2022

The top seed enjoyed his second win of the week over a British player at the Ken Rosewall Arena, having beaten third seed Dan Evans to reach the final.

Karatsev will be the 18th seed at this year’s Australian Open, although that could change if top seed Djokovic’s bid to avoid deportation ahead of the tournament fails.

That makes Karatsev the third-highest Russian seed in Melbourne, behind second seed Daniil Medvedev and fifth seed Andrey Rublev.

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