Melbourne: A day after his younger brother nearly upset one of the game’s greats at the Australian Open, Mischa Zverev went one better when he eliminated Andy Murray in four sets to hand the world No. 1 his worst grand slam defeat — in ranking — in a decade.
Zverev — a net rushing German ranked 50th — eliminated Murray 7-5 5-7 6-2 6-4 in the fourth round at Rod Laver Arena 11 years after the Scot was ousted by 51st-ranked Juan Chela at Melbourne Park.
Zverev’s sibling Alexander looked on from the player box on a warm, sunny day — he had lost in five sets to Rafael Nadal on Saturday in cooler conditions but was in much better spirits on Sunday thanks to his brother’s heroics.
“Definitely the best match of my life,” Zverev, into a first grand slam quarterfinal, told reporters. “Not only because it was a best-of-five set match, it was at a slam. It was just incredible.”
It was the earliest exit for a men’s top seed at the Australian Open since Lleyton Hewitt at the same stage in 2003 and leaves the tournament without the top two seeds already following six-time champion Novak Djokovic’s similarly unexpected reverse to Denis Istomin in the second round.
For Murray — the men’s tour’s standout player for the second half of last year — it means he will have to wait to collect a first title in Melbourne.
The loss to lefty Zverev was indeed more heartache for the Scot here, given he has lost five finals.
“I’m obviously down about it,” Murray, playing his first major as a No. 1, told reporters. “It’s just tennis. I had great success for a number of months. Obviously in the biggest events you want to do your best. That’s not been the case here. It happens”.