Wimbledon 2021 tennis: Denis Shapovalov ends Andy Murray's Wimbledon return with clinical win on Centre Court
Andy Murray saw his emotional return to Wimbledon come to an end in the third round as he ran up against 10th seed Denis Shapovalov, who produced a dominant display on Centre Court. The Canadian could hardly have been more clinical as he overcame Murray in the clash on Friday evening. For Murray, the defeat ended what has been an uplifting comeback after a four-year absence.
Wimbledon Day 5 highlights: Murray out, Djokovic through
Denis Shapovalov proved too strong for Andy Murray on Friday evening as the 10th seed abruptly ended the Brit's Wimbledon return at the third-round stage with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory.
Centre Court had already witnessed two memorable performances from the 34-year-old this week against Nikoloz Basilashvili and Oscar Otte in the first and second rounds, respectively, but this was a step too far for the two-time champion at SW19.
Murray threw everything he possibly could at the Canadian in the opening set, in particular, but Shapovalov simply had too much power and intensity at crucial moments and he secured the break of serve he required to edge it.
The second set saw Murray wilt early on as his opponent raced into a commanding 3-0 lead and he was never able to claw back the deficit - despite numerous break point opportunities in one marathon game at 4-1 - as the 22-year-old pulled away with his impressive serve doing much of the damage.
Murray looked totally devoid of energy late in the second set of the match. In the previous two rounds, the Brit received timely rests when flagging with lengthy breaks as the roof was closed on Centre Court, and this was no different.
Andy Murray of Great Britain reacts during his men's singles third round match against Denis Shapovalov of Canada during Day Five of The Championships - Wimbledon 2021
Image credit: Getty Images
However, on this occasion the opportunity for a massage and a regroup was not sufficient for Murray to turn the match around as Shapovalov came out firing to storm into a convincing 4-0 lead in the third set.
Murray did get on the board, at least, but there was never a hint of a real comeback as the Canadian was able to close out an impressive and efficient victory in two hours and 16 minutes.
Shapovalov will next take on Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut, the eighth seed, in the fourth round as he looks to extend his best run at the tournament so far in his young career.
"This is a dream come true for me," Shapovalov said. "I put in countless years of hard work to play on Centre Court and to play Andy in a match like this.
"He is truly an inspiration to many people - including me. It is amazing to be here and I don't think I could have played any better."
The world number 12 has yet to progress beyond the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam, having reached that stage at the US Open last year, but will fancy his chances of bettering that statistic on this form.
Murray had limped off the same court following a crushing quarter-final defeat to Sam Querrey in 2017 - then as the top seed - and had not been back since with hip surgeries in 2018 and 2019. This was at least an encouraging return for the Brit with two more memorable wins on his record in his favourite arena.