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03 December 2023

Murray in shock second round exit in Dubai

Andy Murray of Britain returns the ball to Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia during their match on the third day of the ATP Dubai Tennis Championships. (REUTERS)


World number four Andy Murray made a shock exit from the $2 million Dubai championships on Wednesday after Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic defeated the Scot 7-6 4-6 6-4 in a thrilling second round contest.
Murray, playing only his second match since losing the Australian Open final to Roger Federer, rallied from 2-5 down in the final set to serve to square the contest, but Tipsarevic earned a deserved third career victory over the two-time grand slam finalist with a confident smash.
The Briton, 22, said he was not too disappointed after using the event to try a more aggressive serve and volley approach.
"The first set I played a very different game, trying to get forward and work on some different things," said Murray.
"I think it was a good learning experience - if it was a slam, my tactics would have been different. I wasn't coming in as well prepared as I have done in previous tournaments."
Murray and Tipsarevic, 25, exchanged service breaks in a tight first set, with the latter clinching the tiebreak 7-3 after successfully appealing against a serve fault. Murray looked on bemused, unsure if the point would be replayed.
"Every time the rule kind of changes - it's basically a judgement from the umpire whether his call came before or after you made contact with it," said the Scot.
Murray immediately responded, breaking Tipsarevic in the second set opening game with a cross court winner. The British number one then held serve to square the contest, but missed two break points that would have enabled him to open up the final set and his failure to convert chances was to cost him dear.
A long backhand from Murray gave Tipsarevic a 2-0 lead in the decider and in the fifth game, the Belgrade right-hander saved five break points to take a 4-1 lead. 
Murray's pressure was unrelenting, however, and Tipsarevic fluffed his first match point, hitting a cross-court backhand wide. Murray then broke and served to pull level, but the world number 39 was not to be denied, winning on the Scot's serve for a third time.
"He (Murray) is probably the best returner in the game, so I tried to keep my head focused - against the top five players you need to fight for every point and take any chances you have," Tipsarevic said courtside afterwards.
The Serb now plays seventh seed Mikhail Youzhny after the Russian beat Germany's Bjorn Phau 7-6 6-4.

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