Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, each three-time Grand Slam champions, battled in the final of the 2019 European Open in Antwerp.
At the beginning of 2019, it appeared that Murray’s career as a professional tennis player was close to an end as lingering problems with his hip greatly hindered his results and time on the court. After a new surgical procedure and recuperation, the former world No. 1 made his return with a triumphant doubles run on grass at Queen's Club, then came back to the singles court in Cincinnati. He skipped the US Open, but played a steady schedule during the fall.
Entering the European Open in Belgium ranked No. 243, Murray proceeded to reach the final, his first in more than two years. In the championship match, he faced Wawrinka, the former world No. 3 who was in the midst of a comeback of his own after a knee injury. Seeded fourth, Wawrinka overcame a couple of fellow veterans—Feliciano Lopez and Gilles Simon—in three-setters in his first two matches before stopping the Italian teenager Jannik Sinner with ease in the semis to reach his second final of 2019.
Over the course of their careers, the three-time Grand Slam champions had faced each other 19 times across all surfaces. In their most recent contest, Murray won in straight sets on grass at Queen’s Club in 2018 for his 11th victory against the Swiss. It was Wawrinka who started this final off perfectly, breaking Murray in the first game and riding through to a 6-3 win in the opening set.
Falling behind 2-1 after another Wawrinka break, Murray fought back to level the set and fended off some more trouble that would have seen the fourth seed serving for the match. Constantly battling, Murray broke at 4-5 to level the match.
The third set saw the two engaging in long, physical points and seemingly breaking each other at will behind strong baseline play. Serving at 4-5, Wawrinka was broken for the last time, clinching the title for Murray, the 46th of his career and ending a drought that stretched back to 2017, when he was No. 1 in the world.
Wawrinka lost his third straight final, his longest final-round losing streak since he dropped five in a row from 2007 to 2010.
Murray raised his record in finals indoors to 15-3.
Murray’s last title at the ATP 250 level came in 2015, when he won in Munich, Germany, for his first clay-court triumph.