World No1 Sir Andy Murray has vowed to come back stronger after suffering a shock fourth-round defeat to German Mischa Zverev at the Australian Open on Sunday.
Top seed Murray, fancied to end his run of near misses in Melbourne following the early exit of main rival Novak Djokovic, lost 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 to world No50 Zverev.
The defeat – his biggest upset at a grand slam since 2006 – came as fellow Briton Dan Evans also crashed out against French 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
“I have had tough losses in my career in the past. I’ve come back from them. This is a tough one. I’m sure I’ll come back okay from it. But right now I’m obviously very down,” said Murray.
“Credit to him. He came up with great shots and played a really good match. You always finish matches you lose with things you maybe could have done a bit better, but he played some really good stuff.”
Zverev – the lowest ranked opponent to beat Murray at a grand slam for more than 10 years – hampered the Scot’s rhythm with an effective serve-and-volley approach.
He broke Murray’s serve five times in the first two sets and took control of the match with a sequence of five straight games that gave him the third set and a break in the fourth.
Zverev faces Roger Federer in the quarter-finals after the rejuvenated 17-time grand slam winner prevailed in a five-set marathon against fifth seed Kei Nishikori.
“Honestly, I was in a little coma, just serve and volleying my way through. There were some points I don’t know how I won, but somehow I made it,” said Zverev.
“Everything is new to me, everything feels unreal. Playing Roger would be a dream to me. He inspires me and he was my favourite player growing up.”
Evans fairytale ends
World No51 Evans, meanwhile, reached the end of his best run at a grand slam, but not before going toe to toe with Tsonga.
The Englishman took the first set before the powerful Tsonga made his athleticism count 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 to reach a quarter-final with fourth seed Stan Wawrinka.
“He was just a bit too strong for me. To win the first set took too much out of me,” said Evans, who is set to rise to a career-high ranking of 45.
“I was flagging pretty much after the first set. I did feel that. My body was sore. Maybe that’s something I can improve on a bit. But I have still come a long way from where I was last year.”