World number 50 Mischa Zverev served and volleyed his way past five-time finalist Andy Murray, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. Zverev will play the winner the blockbuster match featuring Kei Nishikori and Roger Federer for a place in the semifinals.
The German's impressive huge serves and outstanding ability at the net troubled Murray and after a couple of traded breaks early in the opening set, Zverev rallied from 3-5 down to take the set 7-5. Murray then held on to a late break in the second to level the match. Zverev was mostly in control from then on, his unpredictable forehand and serve-volleys weren't allowing Murray any rhythm on return and the German showed no signs of pressure as he battled through the big moments to earn the biggest win of his career.
Old school serve-volley
Murray served first to begin the match, good serving taking him through the opening game without trouble. The Brit then earned a break point in the next game but the German's unreadable forehand and serve-volleying got him out of danger and eventually out with the hold. Murray battled through his next service game and then got the first break of the match with some great passing shots to lead 3-1.
The lead didn't last long as Zverev rushed into the net at every opportunity to throw Murray off, securing the break back and holding on to his own serve in the next game to level the pair at 3-3. Zverev tested the Brit on return again and earned himself another break point. Big serves from Murray erased the danger and brought him back into the lead.
Another break for Murray allowed him to serve for the opening set but the German stole back the lead again as the Brit was unable to read the short swing forehands that Zverev was firing. The world number fifty then came through another serve-volley filled hold to level the pair again. The German then went ahead on return with an outstanding display of skill at the net. An error from the Brit brought up a break point and Zverev took it with another volley winner to serve for the opening set. Unplayable serves and a couple of errors from Murray seen Zverev sail through a hold to love to secure the opening set 7-5.
Murray battles back
The Brit dictated from the baseline in the opening game, coming through a long rally to get back on track with a good hold. A backhand return winner and a volley into the net seen the world number one earn two break points and the Brit took the break with a forehand winner. An amazing defensive lob saw Zverev take a lead on return, then Murray gifted two break back points with an untimely double fault. The first was erased with a huge serve from the Brit and the second as a backhand down the line attempt from Zverev went wide. Murray fought off one more break point and came through the important game to extend his second set lead to 3-0.
Murray chased down a drop shot and fired a backhand winner to take the lead on return but two overhead winners and an ace from the German quickly earned him a game point. Zverev secured his first hold of the set with another volley winner. Another nightmare service game for the Brit saw Zverev earn three break back points. A strange forehand error from Murray handed the German the break back. Great returning from the world number one brought up a couple of break points in the next game to go back into the lead, taking the second with a backhand down the line passing shot.
Zverev went into the lead on return in the next game as Murray sent a backhand into the net. Big serving from the Brit earned him a game point but a costly double fault left them at deuce. More unreadable play from the German earned him a second break of the Murray serve to bring them back level. Zverev fought off some pressure from Murray, his serve-volley tactics taking him through another close game. Murray came through a much-needed love hold to get back on track and force Zverev to serve to stay in the set.
The German missed a volley on the opening point to hand Murray a lead on return. The Brit then struck a forehand passing shot to extend his lead to 0-30. Another great point from Murray gave him three set points. Three successful serve-volleys in a row from Zverev forced them to deuce and the German took his second game point with an excellent serve. Murray sailed through a quick love hold to put the pressure back on Zverev. The Brit raised his level on return and once again earned himself three set points. A backhand return winner sealed the set for Murray, 7-5 on the fifth set point to level the match.
Zverev takes control
Both players came through a solid hold of serve each to get the third set underway. Zverev then took a 0-30 lead on the return as Murray still struggled to read the German's game but the Brit brought out some excellent serves when he needed them most to hold on and lead 2-1. Murray had opportunities at 15-30 on the next return game but Zverev serve-volleyed his way through another tough game to level the pair.
The German took the first break of the set as he raised his level again, rushing Murray and coming up with some outstanding shots at the net to take the lead. Another tight game on serve followed for Zverev but he again produced his best when he needed it to extend his lead to 4-2. The German was still troubling Murray as he confidently closed down the net, again breaking the Brit to further his lead. The German served out the opening set 6-2 to take a two sets to one lead over the world number one.
Another huge upset in Melbourne
Zverev played another outstanding return game, an excellent forehand down the line bringing up a break point. He took the break in the opening game to extend his run of games won to seven in a row. Murray went into the lead on return in the following game with a backhand passing shot. Great serving from the German helped him through the next three points and eventually gave him the hold for a 2-0 lead. Murray battled for his first hold since the beginning of the third set, ending Zverev's run to keep hope of a comeback alive.
There was still no luck on the return for Murray as Zverev's brilliantly executed serve-volleying brought him through another hold. A much more solid hold for the Brit kept him in touch at 3-2. Murray was unable to pass Zverev at the net and the German came through another easy hold to go two games away from victory.
Murray found a way through on serve again and although managing to fight his way to deuce on return in the next game, the German still hung on to his lead with some massive serving taking him through the crucial moments to force Murray to serve to stay in the match. The Brit was struggling on serve again as Zverev's level never faltered, the German pushed Murray to deuce twice but was unable to close it out on return. The world number one had opportunities on return at 15-30 but again Zverev came up with some outstanding shots to grind out a match point. A huge serve from the German sealed the biggest win of his career and a place in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time.