Murray Crashes At First Hurdle

Andy Murray crashes out in three sets to Teymuraz Gabashvili 

Top seed Andy Murray fell to Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili in his first hard-court match of the North American summer, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4) in Washington on Wednesday.

The Scot broke for a chance to serve out the deciding set at 5-4 but was immediately broken back, with Gabashvili going on to clinch the tie-break 7/4 on his first match point and secure his first victory over Murray after two hours and 42 minutes.

The second-round showdown was Murray’s first outing since helping Great Britain reach the Davis Cup semi-finals on the grass at Queen’s Club in London and his first match in Washington in nine years.

It marked the first time the top seed had fallen in their opening match in Washington since Murray's former coach Ivan Lendl in 1993. Currently No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Murray conceded it wasn’t the ideal start to his North American hard-court campaign.

“I normally back myself to return a little bit better than I did. I think in the tie-break I don’t think I put one return in the court when he was serving. I feel like I didn’t do a good enough job of putting enough first serve points in the court,” Murray said.

“It’s obviously a disappointing match to lose but it wasn’t like I was blown off the court in a match that I had no chance of winning. I feel like I put myself in a position to win the match. It was the first hard-court match for four-and-a-half months with only four or five days of preparation so I was happy with how I moved and did certain things on court.

“But there are some things for me to improve and hopefully with a few more days and having that match under my belt I’ll be able to make some improvements for the next few weeks.”

For Gabashvili, No. 53 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, the win sets up a third-round meeting with Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over No. 14 seed Pablo Cuevas. It marked his second three-set victory in as many matches.

“I was exhausted at the end because my body was really tired but I learnt to play good points and I learnt to play aggressive and without any fear because you have to fight for every point,” Gabashvili said.

“I’m confident now and for sure this helped me in this match and also in the first round against Benjamin Becker, which was really difficult. I knew if I just played confident and try my weapons and let’s see how it goes and it went to my side. The past three years I’ve become more confident in my play. Last year it was the best year in my career and this helped me to improve more this year.”

Frenchman Richard Gasquet overcame a slow start under lights to prevail against Luxembourg's Gilles Muller 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. The No. 4 seed only managed to convert on two of 17 break point opportunities but booked his place in the third round after two hours and 10 minutes. Coming off a run to the semi-finals at Wimbledon, Gasquet will next meet American No. 15 seed Jack Sock for a place in the quarter-finals.

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