Written by Fabio Valente
Celebrations for Denis Istomin’s unbelievable win vs seed number two were not even ended in Melbourne, when from the AO courts people started to cheer for a new miracle. The road to the title, with Novak Djokovic out of the game, looked very easy for a focused, on-form Murray, who unluckily did not reckon the special talent of Mischa Zverev, brother of Alexander Zverev and often less acclaimed then him. Mischa, who was out of the top 1000 no more than two years ago and seemed a former player just intended to coach his promising brother, has worked his way up the rankings thanks to his majestic serve and perfectly executed volleys, following an old playing style now defunct but always wonderful to see.
Therefore, after dealing with the injuries that have always limited a potentially great career, the twenty-nine year old German – but born in Moscow – came to the start of the Australian Open ranked 50th in the world. A win in three sets against Garcia Lopez, an amazing marathon against favourite and 19th seed John Isner, defeated 9-7 in the fifth, and an hard but deserved victory against Jaziri: that was enough to give Mischa a chance to challenge the world number one in front of thousands of spectators who thought they were to see a very common match between Andy and the loser of the day. But reality did not follow this scenario and this became clear since the first points played in the match.
Mischa Zverev is on a good day and he does not miss a shot, dealing with every attack from Murray and winning every single point at the net. The German dances through all the court and his dreams of an impossible victory starts to build up. The break on 5-5 during the first set leaves the crowd speechless: Mischa does not lose his mind and wins the 1st set with a 7-5 score. The second set is another battle which ends with the same result but with reversed roles: Murray takes it 7-5 and levels the match. One set all. Just when everyone is expecting the beginning of the comeback from the world number one, it’s Zverev who begins to draw some amazing shots, offering the crowd an unbelievable show of serving and volleying. The spectators start to support Mischa, cheering for him and for his rare playing style, very effective on the Australian fast courts.
Murray suffers on every net attack from the experienced German who is showing his volley skills more than ever today. The scoreline is as merciless as surprising: Mischa Zverev makes the miracle as the umpire calls him the winner for 7-5,5-7,6-2,6-4. At the end of the match, he emotionally thanks his younger brother for his support and help, saying he is ready to face Roger Federer, although it will not be an easy game. Just for one day, people speak about him, the older Zverev who often lived in the shadow of his younger brother. Just for one day, the tennis world smiles at Mischa and already waits for the magic match against Roger.