Andy Murray saved five match points in yet another marathon encounter to somehow reach the final of the Qatar Open.
The two-time Wimbledon champion went the distance again – all six of his wins this year have gone to deciding sets – in an astonishing 6-0 3-6 7-6 (6) victory over rising Czech star Jiri Lehecka.
Serving at 5-3 down in the decider, Murray had to save two match points before Lehecka moved 40-0 up on his own serve in the next game.
What happened next was scarcely believable, even by Murray’s standards, as he repelled all three match points to level the set at 5-5, before beating a shellshocked Lehecka in the tie-break.
“I don’t know, that was one of the most amazing turnarounds I’ve had in my career,” the 35-year-old Scot said on Amazon Prime.
“I knew it was his first time serving for a final so I had to keep the pressure on because I know how difficult it can be to serve matches like that out, but I have no idea how I managed to turn that one around.”
Murray, twice a winner in Doha, has now reached the final a record five times.
“This tournament has had many great players; (Roger) Federer, (Andy) Roddick, (Rafael) Nadal and Novak (Djokovic),” he added. “Those guys have obviously achieved a lot more than me so this is maybe one small win I can have over them.”
Murray has played 12 sets this week, on the back of his two brutal five-setters at the Australian Open, and spent another two and a half hours on the court getting past 21-year-old Lehecka.
“I feel all right just now although obviously the adrenaline is pumping after a match like that,” he said.
“I’m sure there’ll be a bit of fatigue tomorrow but I have a great team behind me. My physio has a job on his hands tonight.”
Murray will face Daniil Medvedev or Felix Auger-Aliassime in what will be his first final since Stuttgart last June.
If he wins it will mean a first title since victory in Antwerp in October 2019, and a second since undergoing career-saving hip surgery.