Andy Murray overcame a slow start and World No. 17 Tommy Paul to triumph Sunday at the ATP Challenger Tour 175 event in Aix-en-Provence.

In front of a packed stadium in southern France, the Scot found consistency from the baseline to rally to a 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory against top seed Paul at the Open Aix Provence Credit Agricole.

“This last year, 18 months has been a bit of struggle with my game. But [my team] have been there supporting me and working with me to try and get better,” Murray said during the trophy presentation. “We keep going from here.”

Sunday’s final between Andy Murray and Tommy Paul filled the stands in Aix-en-Provence. Credit: Jared Wickerham/ATP Tour

Murray earned his third Top-20 win of the season Sunday by defeating the World No. 17 Paul en route to capturing his third Challenger title and first since the Binghamton Challenger in 2005.

“The most important part of this week [was] the fans who came out to support,” Murray said. “The atmosphere from the very first match right to the end was incredible. It’s so important for these tournaments to have the support of the local community and you guys came out even before the tournament started.

“[During] the practice sessions, you were out here watching and supporting. It means a lot to the players, but it’s so important to this event as well.”

17 years, 8 months.

The longest gap between Challenger titles in history!#ATPChallenger | @andy_murray

— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) May 7, 2023

A three-time major champion, Murray’s victory in Aix-en-Provence is his first clay-court title at any level since winning the Rome ATP Masters 1000 event in 2016. Sunday’s triumph is Murray’s first title of any kind since claiming the ATP 250 event in Antwerp in 2019. Murray climbed to No. 42 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings thanks to his efforts in France. 

The former World No. 1 won 68 per cent of his second-serve points compared to 47 per cent for Paul. Murray earned nine break points in the match, converting four of them to triumph after one hour and 55 minutes.

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